Julian Lennon on his new children’s book 'Love the Earth' and the magical and heartwarming story behind becoming an author and activist
Julian Lennon, author, documentarian, photographer, activist musician, and son of John Lennon, talks to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) about his new children’s book and the important message he wants to convey through it
Julian Lennon, the son of music legend John Lennon, has several feathers to his hat for earning accolades as a musician, photographer, documentarian, activist and children’s book author. His newest book 'Love the Earth' is the final installment of his children’s book trilogy, co-authored by Bart Davis. Some may wonder how and why Julian got involved in writing children’s books, and the story is just as magical and inspirational as the books themselves. The captivating book follows the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go anywhere on earth. Julian expanded on what the White Feather Flyer really means and how he came up with the story.
"Dad once told me that if something was ever going to happen to him, to know that he would let me know that he was going to be okay, or that we were all going to be okay, in the form of a white feather. Now that’s a bit of a strange thing to say to a kid growing up and I don't know why that stuck with me, but I guess because it was a curious thing to say it remained in the back of my mind."
"So about 20-plus years ago, I was in Australia and I was touring over there. I was at a hotel in Adelaide and the hotel management said 'listen, you have a group of people down here in the lobby'. It was an indigenous tribe and a bunch of other people and some fans and a few television crews. So I kind of sheepishly went down and peeked around the elevator and just saw this group there in the shape of a semicircle. So I walked up to them and the elder of the tribe, who was a woman, and she met me in the middle of the semicircle and handed me this large white feather and said, 'you have a voice, can you help us?' And I just kind of flipped a little bit. I just thought well, I'm not a religious man but I'm spiritual and if that wasn't a sign I don't know what is."
Julian then went on to spend 10 years making a documentary about this tribe, and the money that was made from the documentary was put into a foundation for the tribe called the White Feather Foundation. Jump to about four years ago, Julian was in talks with his good friend and New York Time's bestselling author Bart Davis about potentially writing his biography. After Davis started doing research on Lennon’s life, what really stuck out to him the most was the White Feather Foundation. While Davis was impressed with all of the humanitarian work Lennon had done, he had one very important question for him… what are you actually doing for the kids?
"I said to him, 'what do you mean? The songs aren’t enough? The documentaries aren't enough?' Bart then suggested writing a book for the kids. So after a lot of discussions, I started remembering the times when my mum and I or my grandmother and I would sit with me at bedtime and we'd have these beautiful, big, colorful books. And as we were discussing this we just thought, well, wouldn't it be amazing if we could include the passion and the care and the beliefs of the White Feather Foundation within these books? We wanted to get the kids to start the conversation about what was going on in the world around them. Why is there plastic in the oceans? Why has it become this way? Why are there people in that country over there that can’t get fresh water?"
Even though Julian doesn't have any kids of his own, he saw the importance of the younger generation being aware of what was really going in our world. Through beautiful imagery and compelling storytelling, the story of the White Feather Flier captured the attention of both children and their parents. In turn, Julain got to continue to spread his important message to the masses.
"The parents are thankful that there are books like this coming out, dealing with the issues at hand and what kind of world their kids are growing up into. It's a reminder for the parents too, who get distracted by daily life as much as we all do. I think I think we've reached a point of crisis, where you can't avoid seeing the world around us. We are watching administrations in different countries who seem not to care about anything that’s going on in this world in regards to climate change, environmental and humanitarian efforts. It just seems it's above and beyond their heads and I guess that's why I am thankful that there are a few of us out there, I’d like to think myself included, that are trying to pick up the slack here and fill in the gaps. I think anybody who's got a heart or gives a damn, needs to make an effort."
Lennon's trilogy of children's books has made such an impact, that he is working towards creating a television series based on the books and is in talks with some of the biggest networks in Hollywood. While the books are based on what Lennon’s father once said to him, it’s important to note that it was his mother that raised him to become the man that he is today. His upbringing wasn't what most would imagine, and for that he is grateful.
"In reality, you could actually compare my upbringing to so many other millions of kids that were just part of a separated family at a very, very early age. You know the life and love of my growing up was my mother. She was at the forefront of that. And to me, that's all I knew and that's all that mattered. As an aside, everything I've ever done in many, many respects in regards to being a good or positive human has been to make my mother proud. And so that's been a part of my inner heart, doing what would make her proud."
The third installment of the White Feather Flier, 'Love the Earth', is now available for purchase!