About the book
Do you love music? Does your kid love it too? Then this is the book for you. For kids aged 8-15, FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK tells the inspiring stories of 50 celebrated popular musicians, including Muddy Waters, Run DMC, The Beatles, Bjork, Tupac Shakur, Black Flag, Blondie, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and more. Each artist's page includes bite-size fact files and a list of must-listen songs. Each page also has a Music 101 section focusing on a musical concept that relates to that particular musician. For example, on Bjork's page, we discuss musicians who are also performance artists. Finally, the book also features portraits of each musician, created especially for this project by talented artists from all over the world. It's the perfect gift for music-loving parents/caregivers and their kids.
Where to get the book
You can order it online right here on this site! You can also find it at the following bookstores and boutiques:
How this book was born
The Christmas before last, I bought my nine-year-old son, Owen, a book about rock n' roll. It’d popped up one day on Amazon, and I’d thrown it in my cart, sight unseen. Like his mama, Owen is a HUGE music fan, so I envisioned many happy hours spent together reading about Jimi Hendrix and the Ramones.
Suffice it to say: the book wasn't great. I'd expected a book about rock legends, and this one featured a whole section about Chief Keef. Look, I have no beef with Keef; there's a place for all kinds of musicians in our vast rock landscape. But that place is not in a book about rock legends, mmkay? I'm not going to name the book; we still own it; it just wasn't what we thought it was going to be. And Owen was bummed. This was one of his Christmas presents, and he'd been looking forward to it.
So I said, "Hey, Owen, why don't I write a music book for you?"
And so For Those About To Rock was born--named after the seminal AC/DC song when my friend Heather Williams-Landau suggested that would make a great title. I made a list of musical artists I wanted to include, and it quickly grew to 200-plus names. I picked 50 of the most epic, legendary, butt-kicking (in a good way) musicians ever to grace the Earth with their presence.
I finished the book and gave it to Owen. I think it's safe to say he liked it (phew!). We read about Run-DMC together; after we read the Jimi Hendrix section, he made Jimi's electrifying version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" a regular musical selection in our car. Then he took to reading the book on his own before bed; it was a constant presence on his nightstand, until his friend Loomis eventually borrowed it from him. I was so thrilled that he and I could bond through our shared love of music, and through reading this book.
After seeing Owen's reaction to the book, I decided this should be a book not only for Owen, but for all kids, aged roughly 8 to 15, who love rock n' roll--and, also, for parents or caregivers who either love it too, or who want to get a quick rock education so they can understand what their offspring are going on about.
What's in the book
Each artist gets a two-page spread containing their life story, a mini fact file, a list of must-listen songs, a gorgeous illustration, and a Music 101 section, designed to teach Owen--and now, other kids too--some fundamental concepts from the world of rock n' roll. For example, on Blondie's page, we discuss liner notes; on Tupac Shakur's page, we talk about hip-hop "diss tracks."
The tone of the book is light, humorous, and kid-friendly; as we know, a lot of heavy stuff goes on in rock n' roll, but I've chosen not to explore that in this book, because I believe those conversations are best had between kids on the playground, where they can misinform and scare each other about sensitive topics. I'M KIDDING. I think that it's a parent's or caregiver's prerogative to approach subjects like sex or drugs in the way they see fit, and on a timeline they think is appropriate. So you won't find any of the gnarlier side of rock here--this book is definitely rated PG.
Music is a language that spans races, cultures, and religions. It illuminates complicated emotions; it provokes discussion; it makes us shake our booties. Sharing a love of music helps parents and kids connect. For Those About to Rock will give parents and children a new way to communicate with and understand one another.
For Those About to Rock: Now on sale!
I'm a mom, writer, teacher, and music lover. Originally from London, England, I grew up with my ear pressed against the speaker of my boom box, with the legendary London radio station Capital FM providing the soundtrack to my childhood. I was 11 when my family moved to Los Angeles, CA; that's also when I fell in love with MTV. I still live in Los Angeles, with my husband, two sons, and three cats; now, my music obsessions include Spotify and the Song Exploder podcast.
My music writing has been published in Your Teen magazine, Albumism, and Scary Mommy. I also teach music enrichment to third- through fifth-graders; my current class focuses on music and social justice, and culminates with the students creating an original protest song.
I'm a graduate of The Webb Schools. I earned my BA in English and Film from Vassar College, and my MFA in Screenwriting from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. I play bass guitar fairly well, and piano not so well.
I consider it my duty as a parent to introduce my sons to amazing music. I consider it my duty as a human being to spread the joy of rock n' roll to as many people as possible.
I secretly love boy bands. (I guess that's not a secret anymore.)