How Sweet the Sound: The Story of Amazing Grace, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison
published in 2018 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Such a unique subject for a picture book, this vigorous, gorgeous look at a life up-ended, a hymn of restoration and reconciliation written, an anthem of grace bringing hope to generations of diverse people.
Amazing Grace is certainly one of the most well-known hymns in America. Here is the story of its author and the abrupt change of life-course that caused him to write it. John Newton was a Brit, brought up in a home of prayers, hymns, and love for God, who grew into a scoundrel, a brawler, and finally, servant to a slave-trader.
His near-encounter with death at sea amidst a violent storm caused him to re-examine his life, return to faith in God, become a minister, and join the abolitionist cause in England. Amazing Grace is one of hundreds of hymns he wrote. In it, he looks back on his wretched life, and revels in the grace that found and restored him.
I love the direction that Carole Boston Weatherford leads us in the closing pages of the book, giving us a glimpse of the diverse, tempestuous circumstances and peoples who have drawn hope from this song.
Morrison’s bold, powerful artwork tremendously augments the heft of this account, rivets our attention on every page. It’s a timely book invoking grace and peace for a world roiling in troubles of all kinds. Ages 5 and up.