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Children's Nonfiction African American

Give Me Wings

How a Choir of Slaves Took on the World

by (author) Kathy Lowinger

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2015
African American, Civil War Period (1850-1877), Music
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 11 to 14
  • Grade: 6 to 9
  • Reading age: 11 to 14


About the author

KATHY LOWINGER is an award-winning author whose books include Give Me Wings! How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World (2015), Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People (2017), and What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal (2019). 

Kathy Lowinger's profile page


  • Joint winner, Nautilus Book Award
  • Joint winner, Independent Publishers Book Award
  • Winner, Gelett Burgess Award
  • Short-listed, Indiefab Book of the Year Awards finalist, Foreword Reviews
  • Short-listed, Montaigne Medal finalist, Eric Hoffer Award
  • Nominated, Golden Oak Award nomination, Ontario Library Association
  • Unknown, Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Joint winner, Skipping Stones Honor Book
  • Short-listed, Red Cedar Award finalist, B.C.’s Young Readers’ Choice Awards

Editorial Reviews

“Beautiful, informative, and inspiring.”

The Literate Quilter, 08/16/15

“Recommended for all libraries, this excellent title will be especially useful in collaboration with school curricula.”

School Library Journal, *starred review, 08/15

“A story of triumph.”

The Pirate Tree, 08/04/15

“Well-written . . . lavishly illustrated . . . a treasure-trove of potential primary sources which intermediate and high school aged students can anaylze.”

Canadian Teacher, 02/01/17

Librarian Reviews

Give Me Wings: How a choir of former slaves took on the world

The inspiring true story of Ella Sheppard, a young freed slave, who founded the Jubilee Singers, an African-American choir that helped change people's attitudes towards them.

This true story depicts the passion and salvation that one tenacious slave, Ella Sheppard, finds in music. Ella forms the Jubilee Singers choir that found joy in song that ended up saving their lives. The book, arranged in nine chapters provides a rich history of slavery, and includes maps, photographs, posters, art work, and a time line. The inclusion of lyrics to spiritual songs sung by black slaves that make this resource especially shine.

Authors available for school visits.

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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