Yusuf/ Cat Stevens has partnered with New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds to produce Peace Train, a children’s book celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic song’s original release on his multiplatinum album Teaser And The Firecat.
Featuring joyful illustrations and the timeless lyrics of the much-loved peace anthem released in 1971, this hopeful picture book – released on May 11 – continues Stevens’ commitment to children’s education and shared love for people of all cultures and identities. Stevens invites readers to hop on the Peace Train and join its growing group of passengers who are all ready to travel together to a better world of peace and human understanding.
“I wrote these lyrics more than fifty years ago, and I know the words still boom as true and loud today as they did in the 1970s,” says Stevens. “It’s incredible to see how Peter Reynolds has made the words jump into life in brilliant style for a new generation with his joysome illustrations.”
Reynolds adds, “One of my first albums was a Cat Stevens record when I was a boy. His lyrics moved me and inspired me to forge my own ‘rails’ to create meaningful picture books for all ages. “Peace Train”s powerful message is more important than ever, and I’m beyond honored to collaborate with Yusuf on this ‘duet.’ I feel as though we’re a band sharing the stage for a concert that our readers will never forget.”
Renowned for his lifelong philanthropic work and one of the very first Goodwill Ambassadors for UNICEF, Yusuf/Cat Stevens founded his own international relief organization and was honored with the World Social Award in 2003, an award organized by Mikhail Gorbachev, for “humanitarian relief work helping children and victims of war.” The Nobel Peace Laureates recognized him with the Man for Peace Award for his philanthropy in 2004.
“Peace Train”s messages of unity, kindness, and acceptance resonate now more than ever, and the meaningful lyrics make for a perfect picture book,” says Nancy Inteli, Vice President and Publishing Director, HarperCollins Children’s Books.
“What better way for young readers to find encouragement while reading ‘I’ve been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come’ together with a loved one? I couldn’t be more thrilled to publish this important collaboration between Cat Stevens and Peter H. Reynolds.”
Following the release of Peace Train, HarperCollins will publish the picture book adaptation of Stevens’s legendary song “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” in Summer 2022.
Elsewhere in Cat Stevens news, the legendary troubadour’s song, “Father And Son” is the subject of a new episode of the Song Exploder Podcast.
In the song, he sings a duet between the two title characters, doing both voices. But in the 2020 version, he approached this song in a kind of astonishing way – he recorded the part of the father, but for the part of the son, he used a live recording of himself from 1970, taken from a show he played at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. So the two parts are still both sung in his voice, but 50 years apart. In the Song Exploder episode Yusuf/Cat Stevens tells the story of how he created, and then re-created “Father and Son.”
Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman² is out now and can be bought here.