Children’s Book Review: Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat
Multiculturalism Rocks! Book Review:
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
Author: Maya Angelou
Illustrator: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang
Age range: 4 – 8 years

Story Summary:
I chose this book for my debut book review because,
for me, it has always served as an empowering read to
begin the new year.
 
As we embrace a brand new calendar year,
eager and hopeful, there‘s always a twinge of fear
resonating from the challenges or disappointments from
the year past. The disquietude of things both in and out of our
control. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is a wonderful
reminder that, no matter what, we hold the power and
grace to overcome any issues that may confront us.
 
Told in soothing and embracing rhyme, as only Angelou
can, the reader is taken on a lyrical hopscotch journey
down the murky hallways of childhood fears and nightmares
– both real and imaginary (“Shadows on the wall/
Noises down the hall/Life doesn’t frighten me at all”).
Matched with the haunting and effectual illustrations of
Basquiat, this story is one both you and your child will
return to through the years.
“I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.”
 
This line reminds me of just how challenging it can be
for children to find their voice (“I go boo”) and courage
(“I just smile”).
Recommended for:

  • The future artist
  • The future poet
  • The future leader
Theme:
Perfect for little ones who are finding their own sense of courage and bravery.

Learn More: 
Maya Angelou Official Website
Jean-Michel Basquiat Official Website
 
Where to Buy:
Indiebound.org

#MondayInterview: Award-Winning Author Angela Dalton

Hi everyone, please help me welcome Angela Dalton to the MultiCulturalism Rocks! team!

Angela, it is a joy and honor to interview you. Thank you for joining me today, and congratulations on the publication of your first picture book, If You Look Up to the Sky, and on all the awards and accolades it has received so far, including being one of Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2018!

Multiculturalism Rocks! (Nathalie Mvondo for MCR): Please tell us a little bit about your background, prior to being an author.

Angela Dalton,
Author of If You Look Up to the Sky

Angela Dalton: Prior to becoming an author, I was a content strategist and digital producer; I’ve worked on projects for brands that span from a digital story series for Kix cereal to online games for television networks like Cartoon Network. It’s interesting to look back on my career and realize that much of my work centered around content for children. I feel like the universe was getting me ready to take the leap into children’s literature.

MCR: Wow! There is something to be said here about children and their early aspirations. Thank you for sharing. What inspired you to write, and specifically to write a picture book?

Angela Dalton: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I loved writing plays and then recruiting neighborhood kids to put them on for the adults. I think I’ve always been drawn to the intricate nature of words and how to visualize them – it’s what draws me to technology and digital media. And, there’s just an incredible satisfaction I feel seeing joy in a child’s face when you read that magical page that resonates with them. There’s nothing like it.

MCR: Tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind IF YOU LOOK UP TO THE SKY.

If You Look Up to the Sky, by Angela Dalton

The story was inspired by something my great-grandmother said to me when I was very young. I was fascinated by how the moon appeared to be following me and she said, “If you’re feeling lost and you see the moon peeking through the clouds, just know you are exactly where you are meant to be.” I think that simple statement began my love for the sky and cosmos. When I moved to Oakland, CA, from Minneapolis, MN, her words came back to me. I was in this new city, feeling a little lost and this sentiment gave me some comfort. I began thinking about how the different sky- and nighttime elements can be very comforting, especially when you’re a child. Everything just kind of came to me, so I was able to sit down and write the manuscript in two days.

MCR: That is so amazing! You chose to self-publish your first book, and the result is stellar. What was the appeal about self-publishing, and what are your thoughts regarding traditional publishing as well?

Angela Dalton: Thank you! Being this was my first attempt publishing a children’s book, I knew pretty quickly that I had no idea what I was doing. Through the help of friends, I was able to connect with and interview five self-published authors and five traditionally published authors. Both had their pros and cons; but, being this had personal family ties I felt that self-publishing was the better choice. Visually, it was very clear in my head how I wanted it to look and you don’t really have creative control if you publish traditionally. However, I also want to be very transparent – I worked with Beaver’s Pond Press to publish the book, so I wasn’t doing it by myself. It also was a lot of work to promote and distribute the book myself, and I don’t think I would have been as successful had I not had a background in marketing and a great network. I think that’s really important for anyone considering self-publishing to understand.

I’m currently trying the traditional publishing for new stories I’ve written. I would love to work with an editorial team at a publishing house, but for this one I think self-publishing was the right choice.

Editorial Note: Beaver’s Pond Press is a hybrid publishing company based in Edina, Minnesota that publishes independent authors and artists. Source: Wikipedia

MCR: Do you have a literary agent, and if not, are you interested in working with one?

Angela Dalton: I’m definitely open to it. As much as I loved the experience I had with If You Look Up to the Sky, I very much want this to be a career. I would welcome the guidance of someone who knows what they’re doing – I still have so much to learn!

MCR: Any agent would be very lucky to work with you. What is a children’s book, beside your own, that you would love to see adapted on the big screen?


Angela Dalton: I would love to see Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison turned into a series! I think it would be so incredible if each of the women featured had a 30-minute segment that focused on their childhood and those defining moments that made them the leader they became. Girls of color need to see that they, too, can be a leader. Whoever develops and produces this would get ALL OF MY MONEY! M

MCR: This is such a great suggestion, and I cannot wait to see it on screen.

Thank you so much for this interview, Angela, and welcome aboard! MCR Family, I am excited to announce that Angela offered to join Multiculturalism Rocks! as a contributor. Please help me in welcoming her, and look forward to reviews on some of her favorite books!

For more information on Angela Dalton and to support her work, see:

o Her website

o Her Facebook page

o Twitter