Academic journal article Language Arts

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash

Academic journal article Language Arts

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash

Article excerpt

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash Written by G. Neri Illustrated by A. G. Ford Candlewick, 2014, unpaged, ISBN 978-07636-6245-5

In a profoundly meaningful tribute, Neri captures the humanity of Johnny Cash in a series of intensely gripping, but easily accessible, free-verse poems, starting with Cash's economically impoverished, music-rich childhood and ending with his amazing musical legacy. Ford's emotionally revealing oil paintings-alternating between single-page images of photograph-like clarity and doublepaged, richly realistic mural backdrops-highlight pivotal moments. The reality of family hardship and conflict-including his family's poverty, his father's drinking and abuse, the death of his closest brother-is juxtaposed with his mother's never-wavering support for his singing and the importance of religion for Cash. Music was Cash's saving grace, and Neri's well-researched attention to multifaceted influences enriches the complex picture of Cash's life and music. Included are interesting tidbits, such as how Cash ended up wearing only black and how Cash finally got his break into the music business.

Neri incorporates quotes from Cash's life and describes how he filled in gaps authentically. …

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