Hip-hop artist Akala is penning a picture book about "Hip the hippo" and his best friend "Hop" for Oxford University Press (OUP) Children’s.
Hip and Hop: You Can Do Anything will be illustrated by storyboard artist and illustrator Sav Akyüz and published on 6th July in paperback (r.r.p. £6.99).
Akala said: “I am grateful to have grown up with hip-hop and the inspirational messages it shares about aspiration and self-motivation. Hip-hop can break down barriers to reading, education and engage a more diverse readership. When I was growing up I don’t remember seeing a world that I could relate to in picture books. In Hip and Hop I use rhythm and rhymes inspired by the music I love, combined with an inner-city setting, to motivate children to turn self-doubt on its head and pursue their dreams.”
Oxford University Press bought world rights including film, TV and merchandising for two books from the author. The deal with the illustrator was struck with Jodie Hodges of United Agents.
Pete Marley, commissioning editor for children’s books at OUP, said: “The connection between hip-hop and picture books is clear when you think about it. Both forms use rhythm, rhyme, and repetition to captivate and engage their audiences. In Hip and Hop Akala’s exceptional storytelling and Sav’s breath-taking artwork come together to create a distinctive book that we hope will appeal to children from all backgrounds.”
Akala, whose real name is Kingslee James Daley is an English rapper and poet from Kentish Town in London. He was voted the Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards in 2006.