What if Shel Silverstein grew up on hip-hop?
Children’s poetry meets hip-hop culture in this colorful collection anchored by street art and mixed with witty and empowering rhyme. Offering over 60 poems accompanied by graffiti-inspired illustrations from an international collective of artists, Cannon touches on all facets of youth culture in this comical assortment. He explains in an introductory note that, as a child, he found equal inspiration in Shel Silverstein and rappers, whom he identifies as “the storytellers of the street.” From there, he leads readers into poems such as “Graffiti Dreams,” in which he writes “Lost in my passion, I spray my heart away / I breathe graffiti and dream of a new day,” celebrating street art, which many hold as a key element of hip-hop culture along with the MC, DJ and B-boy. Sillier poems, such as “Halitosis” and “Funky Feet,” make clever reading opportunities out of the gross-out humor so popular with growing boys. Dedication poems such as “Mateo” and “A Champion Named Ikiaka” add a heartfelt touch. The standout “Weird Concrete” seeks to empower readers to overcome the obstacles of inner-city life.
A collection well-suited to young boys of color as well as all young fans of hip-hop culture, who often long for family-friendly content. (Poetry. 7-10)