Picture Book Review: Every Child a Song

“When you were born, a song began. Sometimes it didn’t sound much like a song. Sometimes no one could hear it.”

This is a deeply emotional and poignant book about children’s rights that will move everyone who reads it and open up incredibly important conversations with children.

This book is informative and begins with a foreword from author about the UN and the rights of children and this gross injustice of peace:

“There are millions of children all over the world who are not protected from harm, war or hunger, who have no grown-ups to care for them and who can’t get an education. The UNCRC (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) is important because it speaks up for those children. It says to the world that their suffering is wrong and that, together, we must do better, so that every child can grow up with a song in their heart.”

The narrative itself begins with a child being born, and eludes to the ‘song’ that ties the story together and pushes it forward. This symbolism is well done and important as it makes it interesting and understandable for young ones. It is also signified through the motif of the birds, which are on every page and reflect whatever is happening.

The first page shows a child growing up loved and being raised by loving parents and given every opportunity to grow and develop their own song.

The tone is light and lovely and lyrical. It is sweet and I felt I could particularly relate to it after just going through my first year of parenthood.

The illustrations are gorgeous and I particularly loved the colour palette, of bright childlike colours with subdued greens and blues. The water colour style and double page spreads gives it a brilliant finish.

After the page above, the story then takes a turn and becomes more emotional.

This page is the one the effected me the most. The way that people don’t care, don’t even notice. “No song should be worn away to silence… No song should be drowned out…”

It asks us as parents, and for children, to consider the life of others, and to think about all the children in the world who don’t get the basic rights of life. It is powerful and emotional and extremely important.

Although it covers difficult and sometimes dark topics – it does also have moments of light and hope. It encourages and explains to little ones to celebrate their differences and their own unique song.

“All around you, everywhere, other songs are singing. Some are loud, and some are quiet, some sing a single note and some a symphony.”

The story finishes with hope and is capped off with a selection of some of the 54 rights listed in the UNCRC, and a note on how these rights came into force nearly 30 years ago, and hopefully that maybe in the next 30 years, ‘ever child will grow up enjoying all the rights for which it stands.”

This book is incredibly well written and will spark important conversations with your children, make them appreciate their own uniqueness, and hopefully make them appreciate their home and their families. Every family should read this book, and have a copy on the bookshelf. It will suit older audiences who are ready for more complicated conversations.

Title: Every Child a Song

Author and Illustrator: Nicola Davies and Marc Martin

Publisher: Wren & Rook (Imprint of Hachette Childrens Group)

Published: 2019

Ages: 5+


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