Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With “God Bless America,” he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.
Nancy Churnin is the award-winning author of eight picture book biographies: The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game; Manjhi Moves a Mountain; Charlie Takes His Shot: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf; Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing; The Queen and the First Christmas Tree: Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England; For Spacious Skies: Katharine Lee Bates and ‘America the Beautiful’ and Beautiful Shades of Brown, How Laura Wheeler Waring Painted Her World. Collectively her books have won a Sydney Taylor Notable, the South Asia Book Award, two Notable Social Studies Books for Young Readers, the Silver Eureka, the ILA-CBC Children’s Choices list, Junior Library Guild and more. A former theater critic for The Dallas Morning News, Nancy is a graduate of Harvard University, with a master's from Columbia University School of Journalism. She lives in North Texas with her husband and a dog named Dog.View Author