Damon Albarn has written the music for a new musical that will be shown at Manchester’s Palace Theatre in July as part of Manchester International Festival. He’s not the first musician to experiment in for a younger audience. Perhaps he’ll try his hand at writing a kids’ book next?
Keith Richards announced this week he’s writing a children’s book. Which considering the last time he put to pen to paper it was for 2010 autobiography ‘Life’, featuring tales of debauched drug parties, is a scary thought. But he’s not the first musician to pen a kids novel. Here’s Macca with 2005’s ‘High In The Clouds’, about a plucky squirrel who must find the fabled land of Animalia. Obviously.
Brushing aside his extensive history of assault and weapons charges, 2011 saw 50 Cent write an “anti-bullying” novel for teens called ‘Playground’. “I wanted to explore how a kid becomes a bully,” said the rapper, who is of course responsible for songs like ‘I’ll Still Kill’, ‘Wanksta’ and ‘How To Rob’. Yep, a real beacon of morality, our Fiddy.
Here’s LL Cool J proudly showing off his kids novel, 2002’s ‘Hip-Hop Kid: And The Winner Is…’, about “a young basketball player learns the importance of both winning and losing gracefully. By exploring themes of good sportsmanship, humility, and belief in oneself, LL Cool J’s story reveals the invaluable lessons that apply both on and off the court.” How about that.
In 2008, Bob Dylan knock, knock, knocked on illustrator Paul Rogers’ door, pleading he create a children’s storybook around his 1974 classic ‘Forever Young’, inspired by his four-year-old son. Ain’t that nice.
Madonna has written five kids books, the most succesful of which being ‘The English Roses’, selling over 500,000 copies worldwide. It tells the story of a lonely girl named Binah who must carve friendships with jealous girls who think she has the perfect life.
Gerard Way’s My Chemical Romance days may be behind him, but his life as creator of teen comic strip ‘The Umbrella Academy’ is only just getting going – the series has been optioned for a movie adaptation by film studio Universal. About a dysfunctional family of superheroes, the comic has been a huge hit.
The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy has his own fantasy children’s novel, ‘Wildwood’, illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis and released in 2011. It tells the story of two seventh-graders who are drawn into a hidden, magical forest, while trying to rescue a baby kidnapped by crows. Sounds dark.
Gloria Estefan has written two children’s books: ‘The Magically Mysterious Adventures’ of Noelle the Bulldog (2005) and ‘Noelle’s Treasure Tale’ (2006). Sounds pretty riveting.
Daniel Johnston is almost as famous for his strange, beguiling illustrations as he is his stirring, simple take on folk music. Last year saw the release of a kid-friendly comic book, ‘Space Ducks’ to accompany his new album of the same name.
Dolly Parton often describes ‘Coat Of Many Colours’ as her favourite song she’s ever written. So much so, that in 1996 she released it as a picture storybook, telling the tale of “a poor girl delights in her coat of many colors, made by her mother from rags, because despite the ridicule of the other children she knows the coat was made with love.” Right you are.
Yes, that’s right, Amanda Palmer has her own sinister story book, the spooky ‘Evelyn Evelyn’. It’s a little on the dark side for minors, mind.
Courtney Love released ‘Princess Ai’, her very own manga, in 2004. Its synopsis sounds amazing: “a young, amnesiac alien girl known only as Princess Ai is mysteriously transported to Tokyo, Japan. With only a heart-shaped box to clue her in on her past, Ai makes her living as a rock star at Club Cupid.” She then “falls in love with a sensitive musician called Kent” – sound familiar?
Why’s Darren Aronofsky bothering with his upcoming adaption of the story of Noah’s Ark (‘Noah’, set for cinemas later this year) when CLEARLY Sting has already made the definitive version of the biblical tale? ‘Rock Steady’ was released in 2001.
Of course Queen Latifah has her own illustrated kids novel. Of course she does. ‘Queen Of The Scene’, about a female basketball player “with girl power to the max!” comes with a CD on which the self-professed First Lady of Hip-Hop raps the story.
Finally, David Bowie collaborated with illustrator Jamilla Naji in 2004 to create ‘Musical Storyland’, his very own “sing-along book” complete with CD of original little-known 1960s-era Bowie music. It’s aimed to “help children improve their reading skills”. But never mind that, parents – it’ll provide an early introduction to the Dame. Just as much a parenting priority, right?