Cover Image: Sing Freedom

Sing Freedom

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Member Reviews

Sing freedom is true story of a small country named Estonia in the northeastern part of Europe. In world war II, the Soviet russian had taken over the country and ruled and oppressed it for years. But then the revolution began from the singing tradition in Estonia called Laulupidu which lead ultimately to the free country of Estonia. 

I enjoyed reading about it, it was totally new information for me. Being concise, I was able to finish it in sometime and read it over again. 

It was an amazing experience to read about this journey of freedom. Thank you Netgalley and Vanitabooks for the ARC in exchange of an honest review.

3.5 ⭐
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Sing Freedom! is the story of modern Estonia and their peaceful fight for freedom. While this book mentions some of the bad things that happened with the world wars and the Soviet rule, it is presented in a child friendly manner. This is a beautifully illustrated celebration of the PEACEFUL way the Estonians took their country back. Very informative and fascinating!  I think it's wonderful to introduce kids to other countries, cultures, and countries, as it broadens their worldview and helps them realize the wonderful diversity in our world!

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this advanced review copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review on the book!
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When I was in college in 2007, I took a course on Music in Protest - and while it was focused mostly on the US, the class included a student from Estonia who had participated in the Singing Revolution so we learned about it too! I think it's such a unknown piece of history here in the States that I was thrilled to see a kid's picture book about it!
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Beautiful story of freedom and a peaceful way to fight for it. Wonderful illustrations. Love that this book is not about the obvious. Singing can bring everyone together!
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I thought that this book was excellent!

The story is a short and and it is simply told but what is covered is perfect.

The book tells the story of Estonia's path to independence.  I know a little about the Baltic states as my husband's family is from Lithuania but I didn't know much about Estonia and this book was a real eye opener and I definitely learnt more about their history from the book.

This is certainly a book I will be recommending, it is well presented and the illustrations are stunning.  They really bring the story to life and make the book a special one to read.

It is 5 stars from me for this one - highly recommended and a good book to cover what happened in WWII and the aftermath too.
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Amazingly written factual book with lots of things I never knew before.

Vanita established the details very nicely and put it through in a good manner. Illustrations were also very good. Precarious people to the Soviets and defending the latter with just songs was indeed a great way to protest and demand to take their stand back on their traditions and identity of language and flag, etc..

I'm really amazed with the illustrations by Mike DeSantis, his work is just awesome.

For me it is 5.0/5.0
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Baltic-nations, music, nonfiction, illustrated, nonviolent-protest, USSR, song-festival*****

A wonderful true story delightfully illustrated by Mike DeSantis!
Shortly after WW2, Estonia was annexed by the (then) Soviet Union in 1947 and the people were denied many of their rights and traditions. The people were allowed to continue their music festivals by were not to sing their native songs. One important song slipped through and was sung at each festival until things changed with the Soviets and the Estonians were free once again in 1991.
A true peaceful revolution!
Well suited for reading WITH someone of any age, great for gifting to anyone, but especially to a school or public library!
I requested and received a free temporary e-book on Adobe Digital Editions from Vanita Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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I love when authors give from their hearts and souls and produce a children’s book.  This educational children’s picture book, by Author Vanita Oelschlager, comes to us from a small country called Estonia, which gained their freedom when they separated from the Soviet Union.  What astonishes and encourages me, is that freedom was not won with guns and violence, but instead with the hearts and voices of its’ people.  Estonia is a grand example peaceful protests to enact change.

The hand drawn illustrations were very helpful in giving a visual image of where the country is and what the Estonians went through gaining, loosing, then regaining their freedoms.

I appreciate the glossary, notes on the author and illustrator, details about how the illustrations of this book were created, and the maps of the country.

This book would be a nice addition to a history (or even art) learning module in an elementary or middle school.  Additionally, children could gain an appreciation for our freedoms that we often take for granted in the United States of America.  

I want to thank Author Vanita Oelschlager, Illustrator Mike DeSantis, Vanita Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this Advanced Reader’s Copy. This is a voluntary review, and all comments and opinions are entirely my own.
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Sing Freedom! was an unexpected book about Estonia and its revolution. I really enjoyed learning about this part of history and that singing was part of its non-violent revolution. Great illustrations
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An interesting and inspiring bit of history about a country I didn't even know much about,  Brings to mind current  peaceful protests that will hopefully bring change to my country and across the world.
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Pros: As a lover of music and group singing I was interested to learn this part of Estonia's history and how singing played a role in its nonviolent revolution. What a lovely thing for children (and adults) to learn about! The illustrations in this book are wonderful.

Cons: This is a not a con but I do recommend that younger children read this with an adult because there is a bit more text than I expected and children will likely have questions about the revolution and other big ideas mentioned in this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Vanita Books for the opportunity to read this book.
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Author Vanita Oelschlager has written a lovely picture book about the invasion and subsequent liberation of Estonia, which abuts Russia — always a precarious position. Just as “We Will Overcome” and “We Shall Not Be Moved” inspired the Civil Rights activists, Estonian patriots used “Land of My Fathers” to organize and inspire their compatriots. One-fourth of Estonia’s population showed up to one Estonian festival to sing Estonian songs — including “Land of My Fathers” — and protest Soviet rule. At one point, 1 million people from the three Baltic nations — Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia — joined hands to create a human chain to peacefully protest for their independence. That came in 1991 in a bloodless coup. What an inspiration!

The translated words to “Land of My Fathers” is in the book, but you can listen to this beautiful song sung by thousands and thousands. here:
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This is a story that Upper Elementary students can appreciate. They love collecting "did you know?" stories to share at home and with kids in other classes, and the idea that a country gained independence through song is pretty interesting trivia.
It is not my favorite by this author or illustrator, but it's still a great addition to a home or classroom library.
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This was an okay read it personally just wasn't my favorite but the overall theme was really great for younger children along with the beautiful illustrations.
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This was an interesting story about a peaceful form of Revolution that I was not aware of happening. The book starts out by explaining the USSR and the small countries that were put under the control of Stalin. I appreciate the fact that they explained the hardships of life under the USSR while keeping the information very kid friendly. I had never heard of the story of the Estonian people using music to create their own form of revolution against the oppressive regime. It is sad that it still took so long for the people to get their freedom, but I love the tradition that has continued for so long, of singing patriotic songs that bring a connection and love for their community in a way that nothing else really can. Music is powerful, and this story is evidence of how that power can change the minds and moods of people, even in the darkest situations.
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What a beautiful book! The illustrations are really well done and fit the text so very well.

Sing Freedom by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Mike DeSantis is a perfect book to explain how freedom, once lost, is so very difficult to regain. This book covers a major political event very well, with just enough information to teach, but not too much to overwhelm. A glossary in the back gives more details on new people and places. Another page in the back shows the steps the illustrator takes to create the art, which is a fascinating peek into the artistry behind picture books. I can easily see this being a favorite page for those students who love to sketch. A bare-bones map of Europe shows all of the countries in relationship to each other, helpful in a time when geography is not taught any longer in many elementary schools.

Full disclosure: I knew practically nothing about Estonia, so I found this book very informative, even as an adult!

As a veteran middle school language arts teacher, one of the things I loved to do was to pair a picture book with a grade-level novel. For example, before reading Esperanza Rising, the story of a once wealthy Mexican girl who loses everything and must be secretly smuggled across the border with her mother and their trusted servants. Once in California she must learn things like sweeping and cooking as her mother works alongside their former servants picking and packing fruits and vegetables in the fields. Before reading, I would have the students read picture books of immigration and the difficulties people from war-torn countries faced both at home and here in their new home. Sing Freedom! would be a great picture book to pair with a YA novel about the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. 

Interesting side note: the back jacket of the book tells of a film about the "Singing Revolution". This would be a great cross-curriculum, multi-media experience to watch the film, read the book, and study the map of Europe, learn more about the break-up of the Soviet Union, and finish with learning the national song of Estonia, "Land of My Fathers."
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The text is very info-heavy so it won't work for really young kids, but it does an effective job of condensing Estonian history and communicating it, and it meshes well with the illustrations.
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I can honestly say, prior to reading this book, the only thing I knew about Estonia was the name. This is a short, interesting book and I enjoy learning about other places and I think others will as well. I would love to read more books like this about other places.
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I learned so much about the history of Estonia. I don’t think I’ve ever read about Estonia. It made me want to learn more. I’d buy this for my classroom.
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This is a story about the small country of Estonia and how they gained their freedom. I could see reading this to my kids when we go back to studying world cultures in our homeschool.
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