The Morning Tribe A Graphic Novel By Julian Lennon and Bart Davis Foreword by Bunna Lawrie / Illustrated by Alejandra Green and Fanny Rodriguez
Winner of the 2021 World Literacy Award!
The Morning Tribe is a middle grade action-adventure graphic novel that showcases young people protecting our critical environment and teaches that we are all part of the struggle to save the Earth’s future and sustain the human race.
When twins Dawn and Dusk, young members of the Amazon rain forest’s Morning Tribe, discover that their homeland is being threatened by Global Agricorp mercenaries, they gather their friends and rise to the challenge of protecting it.
Though they’re naturally smart, strong, and quick, the twins also each have special abilities. Dusk is stronger, faster, and more powerful as the sun sets. Dawn is farther-sighted, a better swimmer, and a gifted acrobat as the sun rises. They are at the height of their power together at midnight.
But young Tom Toll, estranged son of Agricorp’s boss, ventures alone into the forest intent on destroying the people of the Morning Tribe, and finds himself in danger. He is saved by Dusk and Dawn and a deep bond forms between them as Tom gains an understanding not only of the forest, but of shared values and a greater global mission. When the trio of youngsters save Tom’s father and the Agricorp crew, who are attempting to burn the rain forest, it changes the relationship between father and son into a positive one forever.
The Morning Tribe‘s theme and content derive from the work of the White Feather Foundation created in 2007 by Julian Lennon—recipient of the UNESCO 2020 Cross Cultural and Peace Crafter Award—that has been active in the rain forest for more than a decade. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the environmental and humanitarian efforts of The White Feather Foundation.
Julian Lennon will receive a global award today (from 8pm BST) on International Literacy Day, for his outstanding contribution to literacy.
Julian Lennon is a songwriter, children’s book author, and philanthropist based in New York. Today, he is recognized for his work in children’s literature and the founding of the White Feather Foundation.
The award will be presented to Mr Lennon at the World Literacy Award 2021 event in London, United Kingdom, hosted by the World Literacy Foundation and with 5,300 attendees from 52 countries who joined the online ceremony.
Through his children’s books, his advocacy for reading and work of the White Feather Foundation, the 16 judges deemed Lennon as having demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth in commitment to the advancement of literacy.
“It’s an amazing honor to receive this award and the global acknowledgement of the work in education and my Foundation, as we increase access to education and literacy for all. I’ve seen first-hand the inequalities of education around the world and an Aboriginal gift of a white feather inspired me to step-up and make a difference,” said Julian Lennon.
Julian Lennon’s Foundation promotes and supports education, health and indigenous cultures throughout the world including Kenya, Ethiopia and Colombia. Julian Lennon has written 11 books including the White Feather Flier Series for children. Amongst his work to Improve global literacy standards, Lennon set up a scholarship program in his mother, Cynthia Lennon’s, memory giving 40 scholarships to girls in Kenya.
Andrew Kay CEO of the World Literacy Foundation says “The World Literacy Awards put a spotlight on people and organizations who are doing exemplary and innovative work in the literacy sector”.
Literacy is the ticket to learning, opportunity and empowerment.” Lord Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey series creator and one of the 16 international judges, said.
Whether snapping daily life in Cuba or members of the Irish rock band U2, photographer and singer Julian Lennon says the pictures he most likes taking are spontaneous.
“The ones that really I enjoy the most are … spur of the moment,” Julian said.
Julian is sharing a selection of his photos in a virtual exhibition called “Vision” on the website of Aston Martin Residences in Miami.
“It’s about… giving people a glimpse into other worlds that they may never get to see,” he said.
Lennon remembers one specific moment he says had a big impact on his work: one late afternoon in 2010, while lying on the floor, Lennon photographed U2 lead singer Bono – with a picture of John Lennon behind him.
“Initially I thought ‘oh, that’s a ‘Lennon sandwich’ but that wouldn’t have been a good title, of course,” he joked.
“But I just thought, ‘oh my God, this is someone to look up to. He (Bono) was a massive fan of dad’s as I was and I was a massive fan of his as well so it was just the moment that really switched my focus on how to photograph things.”
Lennon, also known for his music and charity work, held his first photo exhibition in New York in 2010.
Among his photos showing at “Vision” are Caribbean sunsets, murals in Colombia, U2 working on songs and South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock getting ready for her civil wedding to Prince Albert of Monaco.
“I think why the likes of the U2 boys and others have trusted me being around them is because I’ve been through that mill… whether it’s paparazzi or otherwise,” Lennon said.
“And I know that when you’re in the creative zone, whether that’s music or otherwise, that you don’t want distractions.”
Lennon was five when his parents separated. His father’s bandmate Paul McCartney famously wrote “Hey Jude” as a comfort for him.
“It’s a love-hate relationship with ‘Hey Jude’,” he said. “It’s great appreciation… but it’s a sad memory too.”
Since Julian Lennon astounded us with his 1984 solo debut Valotte, he’s repeatedly proven himself a beautiful and poetic storyteller. Now, at 58, with six studio albums and an essential lifetime honing his craft as a photographer, Aston Martin Residences in Miami recently unveiled The Art Gallery with an exclusive virtual exhibition, Vision: 27 images of Julian’s rarest photos, including unseen work, developed at the height of the pandemic, curated by the artist himself. He is the first featured artist in this virtual gallery program.
From his exclusive shoot with U2, to portraits of the Princess of Monaco, Charlene Wittstock, to his work in fashion and travel, this state-of-the-art, immersive 3D experience is now showing through July 7 on the Aston Martin Residences website.
“I aim to grant the viewer intimate access to the lives and locations of my subjects, as well as insight into my own personal journey,” Julian says. “In a city as vibrant and diverse as Miami, I invite the residents to draw a relationship to their own lives in these images, and to unite us through empathy in the lives of others.”
Son of Beatle John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia, and the inspiration for such beloved classics as “Hey Jude” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, Julian’s work consistently reflects warmth and purest intention, whether through his music, photography, thoughtful filmmaking and philanthropy, or his acclaimed children’s book series about honoring the earth.
As his full name reflects—Julian Charles John Lennon—he is his father’s son, but an artist in his own right. For those who don’t know Julian Lennon, Vision is an excellent place to start.
We spoke with Julian about how he started taking photos, that U2 shoot, and why there’s no such thing as perfection. How did you start taking pictures? Do you remember your first camera? Likely, the same way most people do…by being given a camera as a present, in one’s youth.
I don’t necessarily remember my first, though the most important one was a Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera, which I still have to this day.
What’s the difference between making music and photography? Well, both are about capturing a moment, an essence, a time and a place in many ways… I prefer to see the similarities than the difference… It’s all about embracing and sharing various art forms.
Music nowadays is so corporatized — can you still get spontaneous or revealing photographs of rock stars? There’s always something that hasn’t been seen… How did your U2 shoot come about? I was staying at a house, and the U2 boys were looking for a place to write and possibly record, and I was leaving for NYC for my first ever photography exhibition, at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, formerly CBGB’s.
So, I suggested they use the house, as it had some great sounding rooms. They did! But after we agreed, I found out my exhibition was delayed… So, I moved in with a friend next door, until I could leave for the exhibition. In the meantime, I’d popped over to see “The Boys” and Edge (knowing I was an up and coming photographer) said, I know you’d like to take a few pics, let me talk to the others and I’ll let you know.
The next day, Edge said, “It’s all good…” I was overjoyed, but very nervous, as I didn’t want to get in their way, and didn’t know them so well at that point. So, I went over, camera in hand, but they also had “in-house” photographers there, shooting video too, so it was a fairly busy landscape. Trying to not distract, I only popped in on a few occasions, as I didn’t want to disturb them. But… the first time I went over and snapped away, I came back and looked at the images on my laptop, and thought they looked terrible, not the band, the pictures. Like quick holiday snaps.
But I was fortunate enough to be chatting to Bono one early evening, and it was very chilled and relaxed, and I was literally just laying on the floor, looking up at Bono, who was sitting on a chair, staring out of the window, but low and behold, there was a picture of Dad, up high on the wall behind him… And so, just took a snap, then and there, and thought, “That’s it!” What transformed me right then and there, was that I was shooting most earlier pictures “head on”…and what inspired me about this particular shot was the angle. Without that particular angle that I was at, laying on the floor, looking up at a hero of mine, who was sitting underneath a picture of one of his heroes… Well, it just wouldn’t have happened, and that made me realize, that we should all look at things from time to time from a different perspective, as that may just give us a better understanding of the situation around us, or the situation we’re in.
It was because of that particular photo that my understanding of photography and communication through imagery changed forever, and I’ve never looked back since. It continues to remain one of my favorite images, alongside “Wake up and Dream” which is of Edge walking by a whiteboard, with that exact title, but he’s walking away, so you cannot see his face, but you know it’s him.
And because of that time with them, and with their agreement that I was able to use these images at my first ever exhibition, between some Rock ’n’ Roll images and the fine art photography of clouds and landscapes that I had originally intended for the exhibition.
“Imperfections” are what can make a photo so special—would you agree? I absolutely agree. But also, there’s no such thing as perfection, at least, not in my book. Even “perfection” in one person’s eye, can be truly ugly in another’s…
How does great photography distinguish someone when everyone, because of phone cameras, is a “photographer”? I believe most true artists have a unique trait/quality about them, something that distinguishes themselves from others…and I think that shows. It’s not tangible as such…[it’s] a look/feel/sound…
What intrigues you most about Cuba? I was fascinated as it was one of the many countries I hadn’t visited. And I had a friend who moved there, who was telling me all about how wonderful and magical it was. So when I had a spare week, I just booked a flight, got on a plane, camera in hand, and off I went. Generally, that’s how most of my trips happen, unless they’re charity orientated.
What is your favorite photograph by someone else? “California, 1955” by Elliot Erwitt, and by looking at my Cuba collection, you’ll see why.
Who’s the sexiest person you ever photographed? On a professional level, I’m not sure I have yet. What makes a photograph intimate? I believe it’s a sense that you can relate to it…possibly in a number of ways…a time, a place, a string of one’s memory…
Which rock star/group do you wish you’d shot and didn’t (or hope to)? Aye, aye, aye….that question gives me a brain ache! There are too many to mention, or consider one over the other…
I have some portraits coming up later this year that may answer this question.
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