Saturday, November 18, 2017

"Sing Freedom" - a bookwrap

Beautiful Estonia! 

Some fun facts about Estonia

The Estonian Song Festival is one of the largest in the world, tied with ones in Latvia and Lithuania. More than 30000 singers perform simultaneously to an audience of 80000 or more. It is held every 5 years, although smaller ones may happen in between.

The tech-savvy estonians are behind Skype (with Swedes) as well as Kazaa. 

Estonian, with other finno-urgic languages, Finnish and Hungarian, are among the hardest languages to learn as an English-speaker. The hardest are Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. According to tales, Estonian was the runner-up for the most beautiful language contest behind Italian with the sentence "SΓ΅ida tasa ΓΌle silla" (Ride gently over the bridge)

Beautiful Tallinn, Estonia!


"Sing Freedom!"
A Country Wins its Freedom Through Song

Authored by Vanita Oelschlager
Illustrated by Mike DeSantis

Unwrapping some wonderful illustrations for you to peek at

 About the book

This true story is about a small nation called Estonia.  It documents their struggle to rise up once again from their ashes after being  taken over by Russia, Germany, and then by the Soviet Union.

World War 11 brings bullets and tanks into their land and people are forced to give up their flag, their language, and their most beloved possession... their spirit.  But a flicker of hope never totally dies.  Hope burns brightly inside of them and is expressed through their music.  

Yearly they hold a song festival called the Laulupidu where singing groups gather from all over the country.  They dress in their traditional garb and together sing songs.  Often more than 30,000 singers assemble to harmonize together.

The Soviets censor all their traditional Estonian songs.  All but one..."Land of My Fathers, Land That I Love," is overlooked.  The brave Estonians decide to take a risk and sing that patriotic song at the music festival.  They sing that song as the last one at their concert and with thousands of voices participating can not be stopped by the authorities.  

In 1985, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the new leader of the Soviet Union, softens restrictions in the country.  The Estonians, seeing their chance to break free, start talking about their history and celebrating their culture (cautiously of course) once again. They even talk about making changes in the government.  Now that takes courage. They revert to singing Estonian songs and waving their flag proudly after 40 long years of repression.  

The Baltic countries join in acts of open defiance with them... and this is the part I love the best...

"1,000,000 people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, joined hands to form a human chain across their countries from the city of Tallinn to Vilnius in Lithuania. They joined hands in love and not violence."  

When you read that you both want to cheer and to cry.  Awesome!  

These brave and determined people are not broken or irradiated but become one powerful voice for peace and liberty without using bullets or tanks. Violence didn't change their status.  They did what they knew best. They raise their voices in song and in so doing they changed their world and regain their unique identity. They stand proud... they are Estonians!!!

The illustrations are strong and make the text come alive.  Kids will get a better understanding of the story and the history of this nation because of them.  This book captures the difficult, often dangerous,  struggle of Estonia to rise out of their ruins and become a powerful,  peaceful, unified, sovereign nation once again under their very own flag.  I highly recommend this book.  

Storywraps Rating... 5 HUGS!!!!!

Meet the author

Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet.

She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee.

She has also supported and helped Jim as he built Oak Associates, ltd. into a successful investment management firm.

Today, as an accomplished author, Vanita shares openly the experiences that she, Jim and their families have had with multiple sclerosis. She has likened MS to living with an elephant, one that won't go away or be ignored. Together, she and Jim have found ways to live with this "elephant", and to share some of the larger lessons about life they've learned through the disease.

Meet the Illustrator

Mike lives near Cleveland, Ohio with his wonderful wife, three adorable children, and two barking dogs.
He illustrated the non-fiction books, “Don’t Dangle Your Participle” (VanitaBooks, 2014) and “Sing Freedom” (VanitaBooks, Spring 2015), and the fiction picture book “Rock Away Granny” (SkyPony Press, 2017). He is also a regular contributor to Highlights for Children magazine and Highlights Press puzzle books.  Mike is Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio.

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