When I Live My Dream...
I first got a sniff of this one over a year ago when I came into possession of a promo CD of some of David's Deram era recordings. Two and a half years in the making,
I asked Jamilla about the project and why this particular area of David's career inspired her to release this book of charming illustrations accompanied by a ten-track CD of some of the earliest Bowie work:
It is so good to talk to someone who really knows this music. I dedicated the book to David Bowie because it was this music that inspired me to take on this project. It has taken 2 1/2 years of very hard work. I really don't know much about the likelihood of any money being made, (particularly as I can't sell it in Europe where these recordings are more popular) just that the passion that I have for this music is unbelievable. I still get chills when I listen to each song.
Without exaggerating, I have surely listened to all of the songs from the "Images" album roughly 8,000 times! You see, I was introduced to them from an eight-track tape in 1973. Yes, I still get chills. Even before I began working on the illustrations for the book, I typically listened to the Deram Anthology three times daily while working on painting. Of course when I worked on the illustrations for the book I listened to them all day long...(the original artwork from the book is a group of ten 30" x 24" acrylic on canvas paintings.)
I actually have some watercolor and ink illustrations that I did as a young child from David's music of this era. As a child, I listened to this music every chance I had on a daily basis.. As an adult, my passion remained the same. That is when I decided that I must do something to express myself and share my passion with others. I could not use all of my favorite tunes due to particular subject matters (which are actually very mild in today's world), but I put together what I feel is a fabulous collection with vivid imagery for children.
My real dream is that children will enjoy and learn through the read-a-long, sing-a-long format. You should see my 26 month old daughter dance to Uncle Arthur! I'm Still waiting for reviews to come back. If the reviewers really listen to the music, they could only have fantastic things to say.
Here's the tracklisting for the CD that accompanies Musical Storyland:
01 Uncle Arthur
02 Rubber Band
03 There Is A Happy Land
04 Did You Ever Have A Dream
05 Sell Me A Coat
06 Come And Buy My Toys
07 Maid Of Bond Street
08 Love You Till Tuesday
09 When I Live My Dream
I spoke to Jamilla about the personal cost to her of realising this project, and, apart from the two and a half years of her own time, I know you wouldn't actually believe the financial outlay. This project is a huge gamble for her, made even more risky by the fact that she is only allowed to sell within the US, a market not known for it's love of this period Bowie.
Personally, I think it's a great project that beautifully illustrates a most underrated collection of songs. I do hope for Jamilla's sake that the book is a success, and I can almost picture David now, singing along with When I Live My Dream as Lexi thumbs through the pages of Musical Storyland. Well, perhaps not... but it's a lovely mental image.
Click on the book cover above to get to the illustrations contained within Musical Storyland. Each illustration is numbered to co-ordinate with the tracklisting... see if you can guess each track from the illustrations alone. You can order the book from the same page, but please remember you can only order it from within the US.
Here's the official press release:
David Bowie?s music in sing-a-long children?s book and CD entertains and educates young readers
San Diego, CA -The official release date for the children?s book Musical Storyland is set for April 24, 2004. Music and lyrics written and performed by David Bowie provide themes for the soon to be released sing-a-long children?s book, Musical Storyland. This brilliantly illustrated read-a-long, sing-a-long text and musical disc helps children improve their reading skills while exposing them to music and visual art. This book is packed with mysterious and sometimes zany characters that mesmerize all audiences.
Although this book is designed for children ages four and up, adults will also find themselves captivated by the incredible themes, catchy tunes and exceptional artwork. This fully illustrated 32 page, jacketed, hardcover book contains a musical disc with 25 minutes of playing time and retails for $19.99. Contact Worlds In Ink Publishers, Inc for distributing and sales information at
Author JamiIla Naji?s inspiration for the book was generated by her great appreciation of David Bowie?s music and what she refers to as the "musical generation gap" she experiences with her daughter. She states, "Songs we all learned as young children have their time and place, but I hardly feel like singing them as an adult. This music is timeless and can be enjoyed by all ages."
The high quality and ingenuity of this book is the product of two and a half years of full time work by illustrator and author Jamilla Naji of San Diego, California combined with the design contributions of Chris Bryson at the Waxed Paper Press, New York. Universal Music Special Markets, TRO Essex Music, Inc., Warner Bros. Publications U.S. Inc, and Embassy Music Corporation provide the authoritative source material for this project.
Jamilla Naji is one of twelve featured artists this year at the San Diego ArtWalk fine art exhibition. ArtWalk will be held in the Little Italy neighborhood of downtown San Diego, CA on April 24th and 25th from noon to 6:00pm. Jamilla will be displaying original artwork from Musical Storyland and signing books at this event. For more information on ArtWalk, please refer to the website