Hello, I'm Johnny Cash

by G. Neri and A.G. Ford

“Before he became / Johnny Cash, he was simply called / J. R. — / a name... read more

“Before he became / Johnny Cash, he was simply called / J. R. — / a name that stood for / nothing, / and nothing / was all he had / coming into this world.” But the boy who was on the road with his family at age three as they searched for something better — or just something, who had only the radio for company while the rest of his family worked the fields, who adored gospel music and his older brother, who found solace in a guitar and singing when that brother died, discovered he had so much more. “A gift,” his Momma called it. He followed his dream of singing into adulthood and onto stage after stage. It took him far, and also kept him true: “His songs gave a voice / the voiceless / capturing so many people’s / heartaches, struggles, and triumphs, / it seemed like he spoke for America / just as American spoke to him.” Sixteen poems to tell the story of Johnny Cash in this moving and informative tribute. G. Neri’s style of telling — in both voice and structure — is perfect for his subject, while the book’s size and design suggest an old record album with notes offering more about Johnny Cash and the times in which he lived. A discography and bibliography round out a volume realistically illustrated by A. G. Ford. (Ages 9–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015

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