Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I And I

Jesse Watson, one of my favorite illustrators has once again displayed his amazing artistry in a new book about Bob Marley.  I and I, published by Lee and Low is a really cool book; boys and girls will love flipping through its wonderful pages.   Tony Medina, the author is a deep and soulful poet.  His verse appeals to older readers as well.  Below Jesse talks about a recent visit to NYC with G. Neri, the author of one of my favorite books for reluctant, inner-city readers, Chess Rumble.  


The author of Chess Rumble, Greg Neri, and I were recently in NYC talking about the importance and the power of Pawns in the game of Chess and how we can draw the same conclusions about those we consider Pawns in the game of life. We went to schools in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation and spoke to kids who had some serious obstacles to overcome, including poverty, violence, drugs, gangs... you name it! Many of these kids saw themselves as pawns; floundering in a sea of chaos, unable to affect any change in the world at all. Yet, from these conditions have come some of our greatest heroes. Bob Marley definitely qualifies. Born and raised in the poorest neighborhoods in the world, he overcame the lack of education and resources to become one of the most famous musicians we have ever known. Here is a man who, thirty years after his death, is still outselling current artists today. Here is a man whose music you will find in literally any country on the planet, from Iran to Singapore, Peru to Finland, rocking out of taxis, blasting through sound systems, and streaming over radio frequencies. This Pawn became a King and so can these kids, regardless of the obstacles they may face.

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