Before legendary actor James Earl Jones was recognized for his memorable, smooth voice, he was just James--a stutterer who stopped speaking for eight years as a child...and ultimately found his voice through poetry.

Before there was Mufasa...Before there was Darth Vader... There was a young boy names James Earl Jones, who spoke with a stutter and dreaded having to talk in class. 

Whenever James tried to voice his thoughts, his words got stuck in his throat. But James figured out a solution for his shame: if he didn't speak, he wouldn't stutter. 

And so he was silent...until he wrote his own poem, Ode to Grapefruit, and found a love for poetry. 

Lyrical text, stunning art, and compelling backmatter about stuttering pair together for a remarkable picture book about how a boy who refused to speak for eight years learned to manage his stutter through poetry--and grew up to become an EGOT-winning performer with a voice few could forget.
Kari Lavelle is the author of We Move the World, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali, as well as the Butt or Face? series. She has always had a love of words: as a kid reading books, as a speech pathologist helping children communicate, and now as a writer creating stories. She lives in Austin, Texas with her human family and their dog, Dobby. View titles by Kari Lavelle
Bryan Collier has illustrated more than thirty-five picture books, including the award-winning Trombone Shorty, Dave the Potter, and Knock Knock: My Father’s Dream for Me, as well as City Shapes and Fifty Cents and a Dream, and has received four Caldecott Honors and six Coretta Scott King Awards. He recently illustrated Thurgood, which received four starred reviews and was a Washington Post and Bank Street Best Book of the Year. Bryan lives with his wife and children in Marlboro, New York. View titles by Bryan Collier
"A testament to poetry’s expressive powers." —Kirkus Reviews

"In his signature mix of paint and collage, Collier portrays Jones progressing from downcast shame to glowing triumph....Thought-provoking." —Booklist
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About

Before legendary actor James Earl Jones was recognized for his memorable, smooth voice, he was just James--a stutterer who stopped speaking for eight years as a child...and ultimately found his voice through poetry.

Before there was Mufasa...Before there was Darth Vader... There was a young boy names James Earl Jones, who spoke with a stutter and dreaded having to talk in class. 

Whenever James tried to voice his thoughts, his words got stuck in his throat. But James figured out a solution for his shame: if he didn't speak, he wouldn't stutter. 

And so he was silent...until he wrote his own poem, Ode to Grapefruit, and found a love for poetry. 

Lyrical text, stunning art, and compelling backmatter about stuttering pair together for a remarkable picture book about how a boy who refused to speak for eight years learned to manage his stutter through poetry--and grew up to become an EGOT-winning performer with a voice few could forget.

Author

Kari Lavelle is the author of We Move the World, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali, as well as the Butt or Face? series. She has always had a love of words: as a kid reading books, as a speech pathologist helping children communicate, and now as a writer creating stories. She lives in Austin, Texas with her human family and their dog, Dobby. View titles by Kari Lavelle
Bryan Collier has illustrated more than thirty-five picture books, including the award-winning Trombone Shorty, Dave the Potter, and Knock Knock: My Father’s Dream for Me, as well as City Shapes and Fifty Cents and a Dream, and has received four Caldecott Honors and six Coretta Scott King Awards. He recently illustrated Thurgood, which received four starred reviews and was a Washington Post and Bank Street Best Book of the Year. Bryan lives with his wife and children in Marlboro, New York. View titles by Bryan Collier

Praise

"A testament to poetry’s expressive powers." —Kirkus Reviews

"In his signature mix of paint and collage, Collier portrays Jones progressing from downcast shame to glowing triumph....Thought-provoking." —Booklist

Photos

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additional book photo

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