A Song for the Cosmos
A Song for the Cosmos
A Song for the Cosmos
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A Song for the Cosmos

Jan Lower (Author)

Gary Kelley (Illustrator)

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Blues guitarist Blind Willie Johnson led a hardscrabble life, but in 1977, NASA's Voyager spacecrafts were launched, carrying a golden record to introduce planet Earth to the cosmos, and one of his songs became the defining anthem.

Reviews

When the Voyager mission launched in 1977, it carried along a golden record with earthly facts and photos, greetings in multiple languages, sounds of nature and human engineering, and 27 pieces of music, including a song called “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground,” by Blind Willie Johnson. Drawing on folklore and fact, Lower begins this blend of science and biography with an overview of the Black street musician from Texas who sang and strummed the blues on his guitar after becoming blind as a child. In the fitting, melodious narrative, she describes Johnson’s now iconic song and why years later a team of astrophysicists, writers, and artists chose this “song of the human heart” to be “a bit of golden light in the dark, dark of night.” Kelley matches Blind Willie Johnson’s tone and the space subject matter with softly colored scenes of the musician and Voyager set against indigo blues and occasional orbs, planets, and records. More information about Johnson, the Golden Record, and Voyager conclude this lovely STEAM selection.

–Angela Leeper, Booklist, 07/01/2022

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