Though this is a book review for Michael Franti's book - What I Be — I have to preface the review bits with a story... Feel free to skip ahead to the review bits, but I wanted to provide a bit of context.
In March 2010, my wife and daughters went to the John Mayer concert at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Opening for Mayer was Michael Franti, the lead vocalist for Spearhead. My girls were just as excited about Michael as they were about seeing John Mayer, though I had never heard the song "Say Hey (I Love You)" before we purchased the tickets for my youngest daughter's 5th birthday.
When they arrived at the concert, they were met inside by a lady we only know as the "John Mayer Ticket Fairy." And when this nice gal discovered that this was AJ's first rock concert, she gave the three of them front row tickets on the spot. To say the least, everybody had an amazing time during the concert and both my daughters were brought on stage with several other kids in the audience to dance and sing with Michael.
We will never be able to top this concert experience. But I think Michael has made friends for life.
When my wife discovered that Michael had written a children's book — What I Be — she asked me to see if I might be able to get it to review. So I asked the nice folks who handle the press for Mr. Franti if they'd mind if I did so, and they were kind enough to send not just one copy, but four! We'll be donating a copy to the elementary school my daughters attend, as well as the Pikes Peak Library District in our home town of Colorado Springs.
So what is What I Be? What I Be originally appeared as a song on Michael's album Everybody Deserves Music and was adapted as an illustrated children's book later. The story emphasizes the journey of self-acceptance that we all go through as kids and even as adults by taking on the characteristics of nature, which is a great analogy that just about everybody can probably understand.