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Children's LiteratureThe story of gospel begins with the African slaves brought to this country: their own stories reflected in song intertwined with Christian hymns favored by white plantation owners. These songs were called spirituals. The term gospel was not used until after the Civil War when the music was published in book form with the success of the Jubilee Singers. Gospel grew up in the black community's religious life, primarily vocal music associated with the fervent style of black preachers. Gospel profoundly influenced blues, jazz, soul, and rock and roll. This book is packed with history, singers, songs, and music. A great addition to the book would be an accompanying CD with musical highlights. One hopes that interest in the subject will bring young people to check out the many gospel artists and listen to the music themselves. The singers range from the Fisk Jubilee Singers from 1871 to present day superstar, Kanye West. There are many black- and-white photographs throughout the book, source notes, a bibliography, and an index. For further reading there is a list of books, DVDs, and web sites. Deborah Hopkinson's A Band of Angels: a Story Inspired by the Jubilee Singers would be a nice companion to the early history of gospel. This is part of the "Music Library" series. 2006, Thomson Gale, Ages 10 to 14.
—Joyce R. Laiosa