A little girl named Alex is troubled and discouraged by the cruel treatment of her peers. An insightful teacher, Mr. Jesse, comes to her aid, sharing knowledge, history and a higher perspective that strengthens her to continue confidently on her way. He leaves her with a single word of encouragement: “Zhakanaka”.
Zhakanaka – The Word is the first book of the three-book children’s series written by Sheree Brown; her husband Douglass Johnson, Sr. and Pixote Hunt, and illustrated by Pixote Hunt. Zhakanaka- The Word, is accompanied by a delightful DVD narrated by Sheree Brown and a co-produced by Sheree along with Celeste Brown of CJ Artworks.
The title, Zhakanaka, comes from the Shona language of Zimbabwe and loosely translates,”have a beautiful life” and “travel well.” Co-author Douglass Johnson, Sr. became familiar with the word through his father, Joseph Johnson, Jr., who received the greeting from a native Zimbabwean man while traveling in the southern African country in July, 1989. The authors dedicate Zhakanaka – The Word to all youth who have been victims of violence in our neighborhoods and schools. The book is meant to inspire people of all ages to become active in effecting positive change in the lives of our young people and focuses on peace and literacy. A PSA for youth against violence accompanies this project and features Sheree Brown with a voice-over by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
ZHAKANAKA, The Word (The Music CD)
The music CD Zhakanaka The Word by Sheree Brown & Friends includes original songs that communicate themes of encouragement, empowerment, and hope for ALL ages. It is inspired by the book with the same title, written by Sheree, her husband Douglass Johnson, Sr., and Pixote Hunt. Guests on the musical endeavor include Patrice Rushen and J* Davey. A special edition of this CD entitled, Zhakanaka presents, We Can Change The World, is forthcoming. The Zhakanaka book and its music have fostered a national campaign, “Peace In The City”.
ZHAKANAKA Peace In The City
A National Youth Anti-violence and Literacy Campaign. “Peace in the City” is an on-going national anti-violence and literacy campaign targeting youth, grades pre-K through 12. The 2014 campaign will kick off in the Spring of 2014 with a series of live interactive performances, book signings, youth rallies, readings, and speaking engagements by recording artist, author, Emmy and Stellar Award nominated producer, and ASCAP award winning songwriter, Sheree Brown (includes a 2007 Rhythm & Soul Award for Kirk Franklin’s hit, “Looking for You”). Peace in the City” tour has visited Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Jacksonville, FL, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, and for the first time oversees in the United Kingdom.
The goal of “Peace in the City” is to create a future without violence and bullying by building self-esteem, promoting tolerance and understanding, encouraging reading, and sharing a message of hope in spite of adversity. The centerpiece of this campaign is Zhakanaka The Word, a book for all ages. It is the first in a series of three children’s books, each accompanied by an animated DVD. Throughout the campaign we will give away copies of the book and DVD, present the Zhakanaka Peace Award, and raise money for the Zhakanaka Peace School Library Fund. The campaign also includes a music CD, and a 30 second PSA featuring Sheree Brown and voice-over by Los Angeles, California Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The Zhakanaka Peace Award is a beautiful crystal piece that will be given to individuals who exemplify goodwill, promote peace, non-violence, literacy, tolerance, education, and human understanding in all walks of life, while especially targeting youth. The Zhakanaka Peace School Library Fund has been established to provide financial assistance to school libraries for the purchase of the Zhakanaka books, services and materials related to promoting non-violence, tolerance, literacy and human understanding in inner city schools and their communities. Sheree Brown will tour with a special T5 guitar donated by Taylor Guitars. This special guitar, which has been custom-painted by a Zhakanaka artist, will be auctioned off at the end of this campaign to benefit the library fund.
ZHAKANAKA, The Word is a heartwarming story that transcends culture and ethnicity and takes us on a journey with Alex, a little girl who is bullied at school. Its authors are Sheree Brown, educator and motivational speaker, Douglass Johnson, Sr., and award winning director/ art director and project illustrator, Pixote Hunt. The accompanying animated, musical narration DVD is produced by Sheree Brown and Celeste Brown.