Akashic Books’ LyricPop series, launched in 2020, is turning hit songs into children’s picture books, including fan favorites like “Good Vibrations,” “These Boots Are Made for Walkin,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Today, the publisher announced the next round of classics it will turn into illustrated page-turners for kids, starting with Otis Redding’s 1968 soul classic “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” and including Lori McKenna’s “Humble And Kind,” Paul Simon’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” and Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing.”
The books aim to include a wide range of musical genres — including rhythm and blues, rock, pop, punk, hip hop, and country — to create books that appeal to a diverse array of children and families,” according to Akashic Books publisher Johnny Temple. In a press release, Temple explained, “The idea of giving parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers a way to connect kids with music early on through picture books is exciting. And when adults sing the lyrics as they read the books, it becomes a multimedia experience, introducing books and music at the same time.” The illustrations imagine the lyrics alongside cartoon cats, cooperative families, and other, kid-friendly fare, making them as fascinating to look at as they are to read — and sing — aloud.
He’s not exaggerating about that wide range of genres, either. Among the first round of releases are examples from reggae (Peter Tosh’ “African”) and hip-hop (Eric. B and Rakim’s “Move the Crowd”), while June’s slate of releases will also include disco (Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” written by Dino Fekaris and Frederick J. Perren) and alt-rock (Black Francis’ “Where Is My Mind?”).
You can see Akashic’s full list of LyricPop books here.