When I Get Older: The Story behind “Wavin’ Flag”
By K’NAAN & Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
Born Keinan Abdi Warsame, K’NAAN first came to prominence when he performed a spoken word piece before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1999. A member of the audience, the singer Youssou N’Dour, was so impressed that he asked K’NAAN to take part in an album and to tour with him. Since then, K’NAAN has performed in more than 86 countries and has received many honors, including three Juno Awards and the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music. During the Vancouver Olympics, he worked with other Canadian musicians and artists under the name Young Artists for Haiti to produce a charity version of “Wavin’ Flag.” The song was adapted again to become the FIFA World Cup theme song. There are now twenty-two versions of the song, which hit #1 in nineteen countries. Winner of three Juno awards and recently named the Globe and Mail’s Artist of the Year, singer/songwriter/rapper/hip hop artist/social activist and, now, children’s book author, K’NAAN has a moving and inspiring personal story. K’NAAN (whose name means “traveler” in Somali) spent his childhood in Mogadishu surrounded by a loving family which included his aunt, one of Somalia’s most famous singers, and his poet grandfather. When K’NAAN was thirteen, he and his family fled war-torn Somalia and immigrated to Toronto. His story is inspiring, and his struggles as a new immigrant will speak to many young North Americans. Now in his thirties, K’NAAN has had huge success as a singer. He has won many awards, and there are now twenty-two versions of his song, “Wavin’ Flag.” He lives in LA where he is at work on his third album. His children’s book is a tribute to growing up, and believing in the future, as he says: “When I get older, I will be stronger…”
Rudy Gutierrez is an American artist / illustrator of Puerto Rican heritage whose art has been described as “Wall Medicine”, ancient yet contemporary, urban in a sense and musical in feel and is known for creating images that combine elements of indigenous art with that of urban culture. Rudy’s art for various major periodicals, book covers, magazines, records, CDs, and children’s books, as well as his paintings have appeared nationally and worldwide. The award winning artist includes the Dean Cornwell Recognition Hall of Fame Award, Distinguished Educator in the Arts Award, and a Gold Medal from the NY Society of Illustrators amongst his honors as well as an International Labor Communications Association Honor. His Children’s book art has garnered him a Caldecott Honor Award, Pura Belpré Honor, Americas Book Award, Children’s Africana Book Awards-Africa Access Award, Silver Birch Express Award Nomination, Shining Willow Award and a New York Book Award. His work has been featured by Communication Arts, Step by Step, Society of Illustrators, Art News, American Artist and Art Direction Magazine. He is a Professor of Illustration at Pratt Institute.