Cedella Marley, 52, the daughter of famed singer Bob Marley, has adapted one of his most famous songs, written with Peter Tosh, into a new children’s book out today entitled Get Up, Stand Up (Chronicle Books), illustrated by John Jay Cabuay. The book, aimed at children between the ages of six and eight, shows scenarios where children bully, tease and exclude their peers on the school bus and playground, only to eventually learn how to be friends and play together. It culminates with the children hanging a banner reading “One Love” along with an illustration of Bob Marley.
Marley, also the author of two previous adaptations of her father’s songs, the board books One Love and Every Little Thing, said in an interview that the process of writing the book was relatively easy. “It is an anthem for all those who struggle and a call for change with a message that continues to inspire everyone who hears it,” said Marley. “With this book, my goal was to make the song speak to our youth. I hope that it inspires them to do the right thing, no matter how hard that might sometimes be.”
Marley was inspired by lessons she learned from her own parents as well as her own experiences as a mom. “Get Up, Stand Up” was a song she’d been thinking of turning into a picture book for several years, but felt the urgency all the more after one of her children dealt with bullying, which Marley says “has become an epidemic” in recent years. “There have been many instances in my life where I have had to stand up to bullies as a girl and as a woman, but when it started to happen to one of my children I realized that I had to do something. We, as parents, have to do more. Anytime a child harms him or herself because of bullying it’s time to have stronger conversations with our children. We need to be constant advocates of empathy and compassion—and, to lead by example for standing up for what is right.”
Bullying and judgment are something Marley also experienced in her own childhood. She said there were times “times when parents would not send their children to our home because we were Rastafarian. To them, Rastafarian meant that our home was dirty or that there was marijuana everywhere. Our home was nothing like that. It was joyful and filled with love, but that is not something that one would know looking from the outside in.”