New Children’s Book Merges Food and Hip Hop For The Culture To Promote Literacy

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A new children’s book is merging food and hip hop for the culture.

Everybody Eats is a new children’s book promoting early literacy through the use of hip hop’s culinary lyrics. The book was created by Yo Stay Hungry, a live hip hop culinary competition held annually for youth, founded by hip hop archivist Syreeta Gates. Every year, the competition is held on Biggie’s birthday, May 21st. As a result of the pandemic, the team was forced to reimagine this year’s offering, creating a book to engage even the littlest hip hop heads.

The book features 32 pages of hip hop food quotes with vibrant illustrations from Brooklyn-based visual artist Casielle Santos-Gaerlan. The board book features lyrics from a number of influential hip hop figures including Notorious BIG, Lil Wayne and Cardi B. Not only is the initiative designed with the culture in mind but also in service of early literacy and boosting children’s vocabulary. Lyrics like “T-Bone steak, cheese eggs and welch’s grape,” allow for a more nuanced, fun and innovative approach to sight words for the wee ones. 

Photo Courtesy of Yo Stay Hungry

“When doing our live Yo Stay Hungry competitions, it’s really a family affair. So this year to honor #BiggieDay we were inspired by his quote ‘I was just tryin’ to make some money to feed my daughter.’ There’s a few folks on our team with kids. They come to the meetings, they come to the events, they are tuned in. And similar to the Wu Tang, Yo Stay Hungry is for the kids. We love the kids so we wanted to have them tap in one time for the culture…And the Everybody Eats book is a reflection of that,” Gates told Because Of Them We Can

Photo Courtesy of Yo Stay Hungry

When discussing the inspiration behind the book name, Gates pulled from the iconic 2002 film from hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, Paid in Full. In the movie, there is a line where one of the lead characters says “Everybody Eats B.”

“We believe ‘Everybody Eats.’ This phrase represents the idea that through collective work and service, everyone is fed and taken care of. There is room for everybody at the table. Not only is that a core tenet of our brand with Yo Stay Hungry, but also something we hope to pass on to future generations,” Gates explained. 

Everybody Eats is currently available for pre-order. Click here to get your copy.

Photo Courtesy of Yo Stay Hungry

Link to BOTWC – Culture

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