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Ossining Author Explores The Life Of Beacon's Pete Seeger

Susanna Reich
Susanna Reich Photo Credit: Laurel Golio

OSSINING, N.Y. -- An Ossining resident is hoping to introduce a whole generation to legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, who lived in Beacon.

Susanna Reich is the author of the children's book "Stand Up And Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path To Justice," which was released on March 14. Reich will be appearing at the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville on March 24 at 7:30 p.m. and The Voracious Reader in Larchmont on March 25 at 2 p.m. with her husband, fellow author Gary Golio.

The book, which is geared toward kids 6-11, shines a light on Seeger's fight for social justice, including his advocacy for the environment, particularly for the Hudson River.

"He is so inspiring," Reich said. "I always felt a special bond with him since we are both from the Hudson Valley. He always around singing at festivals on the river. What impressed me most about him was his determination and energy. He never gave up."

While Reich never talked to Seeger, she heard him perform many times and read many of his works.

"In reading what he wrote, it was almost like talking to him," Reich said. "You hear so much of his own personal voice coming through his writing.

Though many kids might not know Seeger, song he wrote like "Turn! Turn! Turn!", "Where Have All The Flowers Have Gone?", "If I Had A Hammer," and recorded like "Home On The Range," and "You Are My Sunshine" have endured for decades.

"His music is always relevant, "Reich said. "Music is a human expression everybody responds to. The idea of using music as a force for social activism is a very important idea."

Reich said she hopes that kids read the book and are inspired by Seeger like she was. 

"I hope it reinforces the idea that everybody has a voice and everybody's voice is important," Reich said.

Reich is currently working on a picture book about the life of George and Ira Gershwin.

"There's a lot that's been written about George, but not so much about Ira," Reich said. "They were extremely close. George is the better-known composer but Ira was a genius in his own right."

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