When I Get Older: The Story behind “Wavin’ Flag”

Winner of three Juno awards and recently named the Globe and Mail’s Artist of the Year, singer/songwriter/rapper/hip hop artist/social activist and, now, children’s book author, K’NAAN has a moving and inspiring personal story. K’NAAN (whose name means “traveler” in Somali) spent his childhood in Mogadishu surrounded by a loving family which included his aunt, one of Somalia’s most famous singers, and his poet grandfather. When K’NAAN was thirteen, he and his family fled war-torn Somalia and immigrated to Toronto. His story is inspiring, and his struggles as a new immigrant will speak to many young North Americans.

Now in his thirties, K’NAAN has had huge success as a singer. He has won many awards, and there are now twenty-two versions of his song, “Wavin’ Flag.” He lives in LA where he is at work on his third album. His children’s book is a tribute to growing up, and believing in the future, as he says: “When I get older, I will be stronger…”

Good-Bye, Havana! Hola, New York!

When five year old Gabriella hears talk of Castro and something called revolution in her home in Cuba, she doesn’t understand. Then when her parents leave suddenly and she remains with her grandparents, life isn’t the same. Soon the day comes when she goes to live with her parents in a new place called the Bronx. It isn’t warm like Havana, and there is traffic not the ocean outside her window. Their life is different- it snows in the winter and the food at school is hot dogs and macaroni. What will it take for the Bronx to feel like home?

Nips Xi

If white boys can’t jump, can Asian boys play cricket? And if they can why aren’t there any in the district cricket team? Vietnamese born Tran is fed up with being called a nip, sick of being on the sidelines so he and Izram decide to establish their own cricket team, and after a series of elimination trials, Nips XI is born!

The Garden of Empress Cassia

Mimi lives with her parents above her father’s herbalist shop. She hates being Chinese and being teased at school. More than anything she loves to draw, so when her art teacher gives her a box of pastels Mimi is thrilled. These are no ordinary pastels for the inscription on the box warns that they are “A treasure for some, a curse for others”. Mimi is able to draw amazing scenes on the footpath outside her father’s shop and the pastels breathe life into the pictures for those able to see it. When Gemma, her tormentor at school, steals the pastels, Mimi knows she must get them back – not only to keep them safe and their magic intact, but to save Gemma from the pastel’s curse.