Book Trailer Premiere: Hey, Wall by Susan Verde and John Parra

Hello, Susan Verde!

Susan: Hi Mr. Schu! It’s wonderful to speak with you again! Especially about this latest book, Hey, Wall! which holds a special place in my heart as it comes from my childhood love of street art growing up in my West village NYC community. 

Thank you for premiering the book trailer for Hey, Wall with John Parra and me today.  

I wrote the words in purple, and Susan wrote the words in black

Hey, Wall’s book trailer is an invitation to dance, to read, to create and to see what’s possible. I hope this trailer entices the viewer to read this story about the power of art and one creative boy ready to make a change. John and I worked on this together deliberately choosing the music and scenes to reflect the emotions and sense of community in the story as well as set up the problem facing the boy without giving too much away. It’s a “mood” trailer. It always has me swaying and wanting to jump into the story and follow the boy. I hope it does the same for everyone else watching.

John Parra’s illustrations are all that I imagined and more. When I wrote this story, I was channeling all of the artists who engaged and inspired me as a child; Keith Haring, Basquiat, and those who put their tags all over my neighborhood. They were all just kids themselves using their talents to unite and provoke and make once plain and ugly things beautiful. When I saw John’s illustrations for the first time I was blown away. It all felt familiar and nostalgic as well as fresh and new. His colors are rich and lush. He was able to show my messages of community and creativity with obvious love and understanding. His illustrations drew me in, like I was on this journey with Angel, the main character. (If you look closely you can find his tag on the wall by the way.) I really enjoy this process of writing a story and then seeing how the illustrator interprets my words and intentions and John did it beautifully.

Art is power. In all of its forms, visual and otherwise, art is a way to share one’s voice, feelings, view of the world…one’s truth. Even more controversial forms of art like graffiti are how people of all ages and experiences get to say, “I am here” and “I have something to say.”  I am not a visual artist, but I have grown up surrounded by artists (painters, poets, musicians and more), not only as part of my friend and family circle but also as part of my everyday life on the streets of NYC. I was lucky enough to experience art on walls outdoors and art within walls. I grew up in the world of hip hop and street art and graffiti were so much a part of that culture and my life and Hey, Wall is my ode to all of it. So really…Art is LOVE.

Hi, John Parra! 

John: Hi, Mr. Schu! 

Thank you for celebrating Hey, Wall's book trailer with Susan Verde and me. 

I wrote the words in purple, and John wrote the words in green

Susan Verde’s text for Hey Wall is beautifully moving, written with an inspirational and proactive story arc between a young boy, his community, and an old wall. I knew I had to illustrate the story the moment I read it.

Frank Romero and Diego Rivera murals were huge early influences on me and art. I loved how they told stories with images, creating a connection between the viewer and the subject matter, how it inspired me and what I thought what art could be.

Art is magic, beauty, language, communication, transformative, fun, cathartic, powerful, a voice, individual.

Look for Hey, Wall on September 4, 2018. 


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