Mila BooksIt: “For Spacious Skies”, Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for “America the Beautiful”

Photos by Shayna Vincent~

Our six-year-old critic Mila Vincent loves reviewing books with her grandmother, Johannah Luza, and her mom, Shayna Vincent. Not only will she tell you what she likes best about the books, but she will show you what outfit goes best with the book! Notice that Mila is wearing purple for her review of For Spacious Skies, Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for “America the Beautiful,” a song about the “purple mountain majesties” that inspired Katharine at Pikes Peak in Colorado. Mila thinks this is a perfect book for Women’s History Month and hopes you agree!

For Spacious Skies

Author: Nancy Churnin

Illustrator: Olga Baumert

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Mila: A long time ago, when Katharine was a little girl, people told her that boys could be doctors or lawyers or businessmen, but girls were supposed to sew and cook. That was not fair! But Katharine’s mom sold vegetables so Katharine could go to school. Katharine liked to write books and poems: she told people that women should have more rights. They couldn’t even vote for President! I’m going to tell my teacher about that!
After Katharine became a teacher, she traveled around America. She loved the sea and the wheat fields and the mountains. She wrote a poem about how beautiful America is. Everybody loved it and started singing it. Then women could vote, and Katharine was so happy. Now people still sing “America the Beautiful.” The part that I liked best was at the end— Katherine was standing in line to vote because when I get big, I can vote for President as she did!
Johannah: I read this book to Mila in honor of National Women’s Month; she LOVED it, and so did I! Sometimes, some books have parts a little above her head, but she paid attention to every page as I read this one.  This book tells so much about Katharine Lee Bates that most people do not know.
She never accepted money for “America The Beautiful.” I think that’s a good lesson for children. The book’s illustrations and colors reflect the purple hues of the line “for purple mountain majesties” in her song. As with all of Nancy Churnin’s books, they speak to adults as much as they speak to children. Five stars for this engaging book!

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