What Happens When Crazy-Talented Musicians Make Children's Books?

Children's stories for adults who want to help children.

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Looks like a lot of wonderful madness comes out of putting all these heads together.

10 years ago, Jeff Antebi was hard at work on Waxploitation, the record label he'd founded in 1996. His artist Gnarls Barkley was in the process of taking over the charts with their breakout single, "Crazy," when Antebi suddenly found himself nursing another dream: he wanted to put together a truly unique book of children's stories by pairing some of the most distinctive voices in both music and art.

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Well, 10 years and a great deal of success (Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse, Broken Bells) later, Antebi has finally managed to assemble a diverse, exciting cast of musicians and artists—30 of each, to be exact. Legendary names like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Frank Black sit in the table of contents alongside members of the next generation like Jim James, Bon Iver, and Kathleen Hanna. And he even managed to get the likes of Nick Offerman and Danny DeVito to narrate short promotional films.

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It's easy to see why so many heavy hitters were interesting in getting involved: in addition to taking part in the crafting of a beautiful artwork, they all were contributing to an item whose sales will go to Room to Read and Pencils of Promise, two non-profits devoted to improving children's education around the globe. And while the book is billed as a collection of "children's stories," the book's website makes it clear it is not actually aimed at the younger set, "unless said kid is over 17 years old." It goes on to explain that it features "outre art, weird images, graphic displays of nasty stuff, and cuss words."

So treat your inner child to some grown-up entertainment, and help kids get the education they deserve at the same time.

Pre-order your copy of Stories of Ways and Means now for $98 at sfwam.org.

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