Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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"Daddy always said it takes a man of peace to stop a war." 

Based on the true story of Paul Robeson's visit to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, comes this recollection of his bravery and activism by his granddaughter, Susan Robeson, with her debut book. When Susan was a child her father and grandfather told her family stories over and over. Grandpa Paul was a great man, a singer with a deep and rumbling voice, a man of peace and principle who worried about the safety of the children and families living in countries at war. His songs were always full of emotion, and evoking the African-American spirituals of his own father's childhood, he was able to communicate even with people who didn't speak the same language. Though it was dangerous, Robeson went to Spain and traveled to the front lines of the war (in a Buick!). There, he asked the soldiers to set up speakers facing the fighters on both sides of the battlefield. And then he sang....

With gorgeous illustrations from the fine artist Rod Brown, When Grandpa Stops A War celebrates the activism and achievements of the great Paul Robeson, and shows readers the power of art in times of discord and war.

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“Paul Robeson lived in Harlem on St. Nicholas Avenue, not far from me. He was our favorite singer and had a soulful voice, like no other. Susan Robeson’s book, Grandpa Stops a War, shares a wonderful message for children about his life and his devotion to freedom and justice.”

Susan Robeson grew up in West Harlem and spent many of her early years with her grandparents at their book-filled brownstone home in upper Harlem. She is a longtime documentary film and television producer. Her award-winning work has appeared on PBS, NBC and ABC affiliates, Channel 4 in the UK and has shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Museum and numerous film festivals. Her first book, The Whole World In His Hands: A Pictorial Biography of Paul Robeson, was an ALA best book for young adults. She resides in the New York City area where she is an adjunct professor in film and communications and executive director of the
Paul Robeson Foundation. Grandpa Stops a War is her first picture book for young readers.