“Many of my teenage students got a real good giggle out of what I was doing at their age and devoured my first Fab Four book, "A Date with a Beatle," she told us. “In a classroom chat one afternoon one of the kids said she knew why The Beatles were still popular a half a century later. I was curious to see what she had to say, and so I asked. Here was my answer: 'They were English and they were rich.' And no one disagreed with her! Every head nodded in agreement. Many of the students I teach come from impoverished areas, broken homes, and a place where dreams and hope just don't exist.
“When I explained to this class filled with over 60 teens that to think that way is a faulty crutch. John was essentially abandoned by both parents and was raised by his Aunt Mimi and his mother was killed in an accident when John was just about their age.
“Paul's mother died of breast cancer and he and his younger brother were raised by a single dad. Ringo was a sickly child, raised by a single mom. And George, who had the most normal of childhoods with both parents and three siblings still lived in a poor neighborhood and his dad was a bus driver.
“Then I mention on top of that no one had indoor plumbing and at the time they were all born World War Two was bombing directly over their heads. Needless to they can't understand how they became so famous and so wealthy when that's where they came from!
“And so, the story behind what made them the Beatles came to life. This story is about heart and passion, the power of good friendships. It's about having hopes and dreams and the tenacity to see them through. It's not about being 'entitled'. It's about following your bliss. And the most powerful message of all is that it's not where you start that counts. It's how you finish! And the book is written in that old style reminiscent of those 'Dick and Jane' books of years gone by.
Adding to the book's charm are the illustrations by Eric Cash, whose sketches include the iconic “The Introduction” that pictures the meeting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
“He did that beautiful 'Beehive' cover for 'A Date with a Beatle' and I was so hoping he could fit 40 pages worth of illustrations into his very, very busy schedule,” she said. “I explained how the book came about, and, having two young children of his own, he loved the message of the storyline and said yes before I was even finished explaining it all. I really shouldn't say 'illustrations' when I talk about Eric's work in this book. It is truly amazingly beautiful art.”
Kristen will be in Liverpool April 20 for the official UK launch of the book on Penny Lane at the Penny Lane Development Trust. Some of the proceeds of the book sales will benefit the Trust, which supports the community through leisure time activities.
(Coming soon: Judith Kristen's favorite Beatles song with the story of her being present at an interesting Beatles moment.)
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