Will Smith lends the lyrics of his hit single to a remarkable new picture book. Gorgeous pencil and oil illustrations by Kadir Nelson follow a father and son relationship through three stages of life: from newborn, to young child, to young man. Will Smith¹s song is a call to all fathers to teach their children the values of dignity, integrity, and honor. But above all, it is a song of love.
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"Just the two of us, we can make it if we try.... Just the two of us, you and I."
If you were a radio-owner on planet Earth circa 1998, you might have a hard time not bobbing your head--and, yes, maybe even rapping--along with this book from Will "Big Willie Style" Smith and illustrator Kadir Nelson.
That's because the words for Just the Two of Us are lifted from the lyrics to Smith's smash-hit single of the same name, a remake of the Bill Withers classic. True to the song, this radiantly drawn picture book follows a father as he watches his son grow into a man. Tender imagery (especially for hip-hop) details the dad's early, unfamiliar struggles with everything from child car seats to CD-ROMs, his aspirations ("Sometimes I wonder what you're gonna be, a general, a doctor, maybe an MC"), his worries ("Ooh there ain't no pain like from the opposite sex"), and his attempts to impart wisdom ("Always tell the truth, say your prayers, hold doors, pull out chairs, easy on the swears").
Nelson, whose work has appeared in everything from Sports Illustrated to The New Yorker, seems an ideal foil for Smith's colloquial stylings, contributing rich, vibrantly colored spreads that evocatively capture the subject matter without being overly sentimental. A must for fans of Will Smith, especially "all the fathers out there holdin' it down" (to whom Smith gives "special props"). (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul HughesFrom the Publisher:
A Conversation With Will Smith
Just The Two of Us celebrates the joy of fatherhood. What do you want your sons and daughter to learn from this book?
I want them to learn a few small gems of wisdom that I think are very important. For example, throughout life people will treat them badly and disrespect them but they must let God deal with those people. If they keep hate it will consume them. That is the concept I try to live my life by – not to condemn people for their actions but to follow my own path to righteousness. I let God deal with the negativity that people bring towards me and I do not allow that negativity to be transferred because it can fester like a cancer.
You’ve dedicated this book to your parents and to the memory of your grandmother. What was the biggest lesson you learned from them?
I learned the importance of dedication. I had people in my life who dedicated themselves to be parents. I think that parents provide the first impression of God their children experience. Mom and Dad are the measuring tool for the greatness that this world can be and the level of godliness that exists. So if a child’s mother doesn’t love them, it is hard for them to believe that anyone will love them. If their father is not there to protect them, it is hard for them to believe that anyone will protect them, even God.
What did you like best about creating a book for children?
Just The Two of Us is one of the best records I have ever written. The messages and the emotions in the record really lent themselves well to a children’s book. Also, I think there was a certain feeling generated by the video that felt natural to recreate pictorially into the book Just The Two of Us.
What other books do you plan to write?
Jada and I have a few other ideas, but nothing we’re ready to discuss at this point. We are keeping it hush, hush and working with the people at Scholastic to help flush out these ideas.
What books do you read to your children?
For the last two years it has been all Pokemon. Trey has about 40 Pokemon books that he reads every night. Jaden is pretty much into Cat in the Hat and so am I.
Did you have a favorite book as a child?
I was really into Amelia Bedelia. If I were to create a series of books they would be somewhere along the lines of the Amelia Bedelia series.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers, musicians and actors of today?
The most important advice is to be very honest with yourself about your ability. Then encourage everyone around you to be honest with you about your ability. If you are a little unsure, feel that you might be good, or just want to try it, it becomes a lot more difficult to summon the strength it takes to fight your way through this industry. So, you have to know from the start that you are great and you are going to win. Beyond that point the only advice is to do it because you love it, not because you want an award or you expect to make money. All the other accolades and financial blessings will come.
How has being a parent changed your views?
I don’t think being a parent has changed my views as much as it has solidified my convictions. I was raised well by very strong and caring parents who laid a solid foundation. Then, as all kids do, I had my time to go out and experiment with everything that was completely the opposite of how I was raised. Eventually, I came back to the convictions of my childhood with the asphalt of my experiences and a dash of my own personal viewpoints of the world. Yet, for the most part I live by the foundation upon which I was raised.
You have a high-profile career, you’re blessed with a beautiful and talented wife and children, and now you’re venturing into children’s books. Is there anything else that you’d like to do in the future?
Yeah, go to Disneyland!
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Descripción Scholastic, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0439087929
Descripción Scholastic, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110439087929
Descripción Scholastic. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0439087929 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW6.1145740
Descripción Scholastic, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0439087929