Accomplished multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Valerie June is set to publish her first children's book. Somebody to Love: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele will be released via Jack White's Third Man Books later this year.

The project was made in collaboration with Mexican-American artist Marce Avelar, who created the book's colorful illustrations.

“As I traveled the world telling the story of my banjolele, I always knew it would make an uplifting children’s book," June said in a statement. "It wasn’t until I got a call from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities that I was encouraged to sit down and write it out. One of the nation’s most historical dreamers is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a black female artist, his message taught me the power of dreams at an early age. He was a light for me."

The project is especially meaningful for June, whose 2021 record The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers earned widespread acclaim and led her to a Grammy nomination.

"Each time I’ve shared this story with students, I watch as their eyes light up with wonder," she explained. "It’s been thrilling to witness that same light awakening within them. Believing you can achieve your dream is a way to be an inspiration for your community, like a great Nigerian proverb teaches us, 'Thoughts and dreams are the foundation of our being.'"

Third Man Books
Third Man Books

Somebody to Love: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele is set for release later this year and is currently available for pre-order via Third Man Books. For a limited time, fans can snag a special edition signed copy, which includes two 7" singles of June's songs "Somebody to Love" and "Crawdad." A portion of the proceeds raised from this special edition will be donated to children’s literacy.

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