I and I: Bob Marley by Tony Medina, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson
A gorgeously rendered collection of poems that capture the colorful life of Nesta Robert Marley, born in 1945 to a young island girl just 18 and a 63-year-old British white man in a small town in Jamaica. Although his father quickly abandoned the young family, the older Marley’s choice of the name ‘Nesta,’ which means “messenger,” proved prescient. As a young child, Marley was thought to have special gifts as a divine messenger and seer able to look into the future.
Growing up in the island’s shanty neighborhoods, Marley saw music as his only escape. Dropping out of school, he pursued his dream first with a band, the Wailng Wailers, adopted Rastafarian as his religion, and eventually became a voice for the voiceless through his distinct music. He brought reggae to the international forefront, traveling all over the world with his messagae of peace, justice, and equality. He collapsed in 1980 after a Madison Square Garden concert, was diagnosed with cancer which had already spread throughout his body, and quickly passed away at just age 36 – a death he had predicted 11 years previously.
A four-page guide to the poems appears at book’s end, and provides invaluable insight into the legendary Marley’s life. While the youngest readers will appreciate the simplicity of the story and its many gorgeous pictures, adults sharing the book with their lucky youngsters will be able to enjoy it on an even more meaningful level.
Tidbit: Hey, how fun … School Library Journal linked this blog review to their review …