Amazing Grace: The Story of the Hymn

Overview

Amazing Grace! (How sweet the sound!)

The hymn’s composer, John Newton, led a successful life as a seafaring trader, sailing from Liverpool to Africa and on to Antigua. His cargo was a lucrative one, for he traded in human beings. It was the height of the slave trade, and he made his terrible journey many times. But one night a storm raged. His ship was almost lost. He prayed that if only salvation would come to “a wretch like me,” he would ...

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Overview

Amazing Grace! (How sweet the sound!)

The hymn’s composer, John Newton, led a successful life as a seafaring trader, sailing from Liverpool to Africa and on to Antigua. His cargo was a lucrative one, for he traded in human beings. It was the height of the slave trade, and he made his terrible journey many times. But one night a storm raged. His ship was almost lost. He prayed that if only salvation would come to “a wretch like me,” he would leave the slave trade and work towards its abolition.

That night was a turning point in Newton’s life. He became an ardent abolitionist and a Methodist minister. But his greatest legacy is “Amazing Grace.”

This unique book is an excellent introduction to the history of slavery and also contains the original text of the hymn, music, and map endpapers.

Describes the events of the life of John Newton as a captain aboard a slave trade vessel and later as a clergyman that led to his writing the well-loved hymn, "Amazing Grace."

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
This illustrated text contains full-page oil painting illustrations alongside a full page of text. The detailed paintings are charged with emotion. The book tells the life story of Captain John Newton; the seaman/slave trader turned Methodist minister who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace." This complex text takes a detailed look at the slave by examining many of the economic, personal, and historical factors that established and perpetuated slavery. Relying heavily on Newton's own diaries, the book tells the story of his life and the events that lead him to write the hymn. It also describes the long history of the hymn itself.
School Library Journal
Gr 4 UpAn absorbing account of John Newton's life, emphasizing his participation as a sea captain in the slave trade, his later rejection of slavery, and his work as a minister and writer of hymns, including "Amazing Grace." Granfield incorporates general historical background of the times, discusses the ongoing history of slavery, and comments upon the universality and hope of the message in Newton's well-known hymn. However, the book barely touches upon other incidents in the man's life that helped form his personality. In choosing this focus on slavery, the author has given her work dramatic unity, and her use of primary sources lends authenticity. The writing is literary but not formal; it is vivid, spirited, and readable. To suit the somber subject matter, the illustrator uses a dark palette and forceful lines for her powerful, realistic paintings of press gangs, storm-tossed ships, and abused and suffering slaves. Black-and-white pencil drawings also enhance the handsome format. Jim Haskins's Amazing Grace (Millbrook, 1992) gives many more biographical details, putting greater emphasis on Newton's life than on the slave trade. It is written in a simpler, more straightforward style suitable for younger readers but still interesting to older children. Granfield's version is more artistic and dramatic in both text and illustration.Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887763892
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Granfield is the author of over 15 non-fiction titles for young readers which are very popular with adult readers as well. Granfield’s writings bring history to life with such works as 97 Orchard Street, New York: Stories of Immigrant Life, In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae, Pier 21: Gateway of Hope, and the acclaimed Amazing Grace: The Story of the Hymn. Linda Granfield lives in Toronto.

Janet Wilson is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and her illustrations have appeared in magazines and picture books including In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae and Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt. She lives in Eden Mills, Ontario.

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