Cedella Marley Inspires with “One Love”
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: October 5, 2011
Cedella Marley’s life has always been rooted in music and culture. As the oldest child of Bob Marley, she has dedicated herself to keeping her father’s message and memory alive. She is a musician as well, performing internationally with the three-time Grammy Award–winning Melody Makers, which consist of her brothers Ziggy and Steve and her sister Sharon. She lives in Miami, Florida, with her husband and three sons.
Cedella Marley: One Love is my adaptation of one of my father’s favorite songs. I kept the spirit of the lyrics, but made a few changes for young readers. I’m thrilled to introduce the spirit of One Love to a new generation.
What age group is it intended for?
Like most picture books the primary ages are between 4 and 8, but kids older and younger will also love the message and illustrations in One Love.
What do you think children will connect with the most?
[I’m] very proud that there is such a diversity in the characters depicted in One Love – every child will find someone who looks like them or a member of their family. And I hope they’ll also love singing along with the book.
To what extent did you collaborate with Vanessa Brantley-Newton when creating the illustrations? Do the illustrations match your vision for the book?
Vanessa and I collaborated very closely and I could not be happier with how she brought my vision of the book to life! She added so many wonderful touches, like the bedspread that has dictionary definitions of the words “happy” and “laugh,” the number 56 on the town house – which was the house number of the home we grew up in, and the appearances of my father throughout the book.
As well as One Love, you have adapted two more of your father’s songs: Boy from Nine Mile and Three Little Birds. With so many legendary songs to choose from, what was it that inspired you to bring these three songs from your father’s great legacy to a new generation?
In The Boy from Nine Mile I wanted to tell the story of my father’s childhood in a way that was accessible to young readers and share the joy and challenges growing up in Jamaica at that time. One Love and Three Little Birds are the songs of my fathers that children most respond to and love to sing, so they were the perfect choices for picture books. I thought the only thing better than hearing a child sing “One love, one heart” or “Every little thing’s gonna be alright” is seeing them reading the book version at the same time.
What are you working on now? Can you give us any hints as to whether you’ll be adapting any more of your father’s songs?
Chronicle and I are working on a new version of Three Little Birds, and my clothing company, Zion Rootswear, is designing the outfits and uniforms the Jamaican Olympic team will wear for the 2012 games. And of course, as the mother of three boys I’m always busy managing their schedules and activities.
Do you have one defining moment in your relationship with your father and his music that you could share with us?
The defining moment actually happened at my birth. I was his first born and I’m told he did not want to put me down. He wrote a song for me shortly after called Nice Time and it became my nickname. People who knew my dad call me Nice Time. The song is a priceless gift and I think every new parent can understand the lyrics,
“Long time we no have no nice time
Do you, do you, do yah, think about that!
This is my heart
To rock you steady
I’ll give you love
The Time you’re ready
This little heart in me
Just won’t let me be
Won’t you rock with me?”
If you could offer one piece of advice to parents about raising children to enjoy and appreciate reggae music, what would it be?
I’d love for parents to always fill their homes with all types of music, reggae music, rock, hip-hop, oldies – whatever makes your heart sing. Sing and dance with your children and show them that music is fun. Encourage your children to play an instrument, even if it’s just banging pots and pans together. And see live music when you can as a family. There are so many local festivals, concerts and performances, let them know that music is always available to them.
Which books from your own childhood have most influenced your life?
The Bible. It was a constant source of comfort and wonder for me, and still is.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m so happy to have this opportunity to share the message of One Love with you. I hope it inspires you to live the message of “One Love” and do what you can as a family to create a better world.
Add this book to your collection: One Love
Check out an excerpt from One Love!
Catch Cedella Marley on her blog tour:
Chronicle Books (10/4/11)
In The Pages (10/6/11)
Booking Mama (10/8/11)
Watch. Connect. Read (10/9/11)
5 Minutes for Books (10/10/11)
Sweet on Books (10/12/11)
Cracking the Cover (10/13/11)