Charleston Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker and artist Nathan Durfee joined for 'Black Music Is' | Provided

Marcus Amaker has released his first book for kids, Black Music Is, which pays respect to African-American music and history through the ears of the book’s star, Bebop the cat. With enough stories inside to teach anyone interested in learning about music and sharpen their knowledge of Black history, the book is good for all ages, despite its intended audience of kids, aged 8-12. Illustrations in the book come courtesy of longtime Charleston artist Nathan Durfee, adding a recognizable flair to Bebop’s musical adventures.

In the book, readers follow Bebop the cat on his journey of playing records by Black musicians in five genres that dig into African-American experiences and music history. Each record takes Bebop through a different perspective in the world.

Each page in Black Music Is delves into a new genre | Images provided

Black Music Is may be a wistful work of literature, but it’s a logical extension of Amaker’s capabilities as tape loop, an electronic musician with a deep archive of his own.

“I am a music nerd, and I care a lot about what students are learning. My hope is that this book deepens someone’s appreciation of what Black musicians have done for our global musical landscape,” Amaker said.

Amaker | Credit: Alice Keeney

Amaker is also giving the book to 150 local schools to kick off the beginning of the new academic year.

As part of the book’s debut, Amaker will make three stops in the coming weeks:

Buxton Books
1 p.m., August 22 

Itinerant Literate
4 p.m., Aug. 28 

9:30 a.m., Aug. 29

Black Music Is can be purchased at or any online book retailer.

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