by Derrick Barnes and Gordon James
This beautiful little treasure was written to the memories of young Black men such as Tamir Rice and acknowledges the inner strength in young Black boys, or any child in particular. This book would be beautiful to use for Social Emotional Learning or any time a teacher wants to highlight positivity and self-esteem.
Musically, this book can also tell this story, with some enhancements. Positive words such as “energy”, “go-getter”, “leader.” This words can be either used as ostinati, as an expressive speech piece accompanying the reading of the book. Let me give you an example:
Adding a little melody with a book that intersperses with sections of the book re-emphasizes the tone and lesson of the book. The little melody I wrote is:
You can also add instruments to enhance certain words like ENERGY (with a drum roll or xylophone roll), “far-off places” (glissandi)…..
The illustrations are beautiful. The lesson is fabulous. We need more of this in the worlds of our students. This book lends itself greatly to music and journaling. For instance, “What kind of music might go with ‘I’m a cool breeze'”? This can lead to student participation and student led planning, with teacher guidance.
I’ve included the melody written out with simple chords for you to make it easier. You can use this melody to practice FA or tika-ti. Just click to download from my Google Drive. It will force you to make a copy. I notated this in the key of G.
I hope you enjoy this little gem. If you would like to share any lesson ideas you’ve used with this book, feel free to leave a comment.
Have a wonderful day!