Now I have to blog a public confession. We really do love this book. And I swear my boys and I have read it dozens of times and they adore it. Tony has completely captured the rhythms and cadence of Bob Marley in his poems. So much so that I have to jump up and find my iPod and put some Marley on every time we read it... which is a lot...
At the Poetry Blast Medina read from "My Heart the Island":
Mama just a caramel country girl shy as can be
and Papa many many years older than she
Papa is a white man so I've been told
My face a map of Africa in Europe's hold...
His voice was powerful and passionate. The poem itself brings one a strong feeling of the longing and love in young Marley's heart as he is left with Mama "alone to scrape and fuss..." Watson's vibrant, evocative paintings of the family divided, with Mama and young boy on one side of the text and Papa riding off into the sunset on a horse washed with gold on the far side of the next page, perfectly accents and extends the poem. The room responded with a hush, a gasp, and then resounding applause.
The poem from this collection that I would like to share with you for Friday Poetry is part of this one:
I Am a Rasta Man
A troubadour for the common man
Singing what a Rasta sings
Reggae music from
My guitar strings
Rasta man lyrics
Of peace and love...
Look for the book I and I Bob Marley to read more of this wonderful poem and enjoy the stunning illustrations. You can get a preview of the artwork at Jesse Watson's web page here.
Watson and Medina got together for a book talk at Lee & Low last fall, discussing what Marley's music means to them and how they expressed that in their book. And here is an interview Medina did at The Brown Bookshelf last February. He is a professor at Howard U. in Washington DC and has four other children's books out as well as several volumes of poetry for adults. More about Tony Medina here.
Friday Poetry is hosted by Amy at The Poem Farm today. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Fourth of July!! Go out to a parade and celebrate!!