What do apl.de. ap, Madonna, Will Smith and Pharrell Williams have in common apart from being successful musicians? They all have a children’s book, and not just a simple juvenile literature, their books aim to tell an inspiring story.
Filipino-American musician apl.de.ap may have a number of chart-topping songs and Grammy awards to his name as a member of hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas, but life hasn’t always been easy for him. In fact, he grew up poor in a humble barrio in Pampanga, had bad eyesight that made studying and sports a challenge, and he never knew his biological father.
At the back of the cover of What’s Ap?: The Life Story of apl.de.ap it says “Hey______dream big.” The blank is the space where a kid writes his name. And such powerful tool to start of what the book really wants to convey.
What’s Ap? is a children’s book published by Summit Books’ Dream Big Books imprint that traces the journey of the musician from his humble beginnings in Angeles, Pampanga to fame and success on an international scale with the hip hop group that has sold an estimated 75 million records worldwide.
Written by Yvette Fernandez, illustrated by Ray Sunga, and developed with Allan Pineda Lindo (apl.de.ap’s real name), the book shows children that perseverance, gratitude, and never forgetting one’s roots can go a long way.
“This is a story about a kid from humble beginnings that was given an opportunity. He cherished that opportunity and now he has a good life and he wants to give back. That’s the gist of the book,” the 41-year-old musician told The Standard during the book’s launch last month before Christmas.
He furthered that he wanted to share his story because there are a lot of kids like him who might be going through the same obstacles.
“I want them to follow their dreams, listen to their parents, and study hard. With a good education, you can be anything,” he said.
While his book encourages children to be inspired and to pursue their dreams, apl.de.ap has always been supportive to those young ones who have expressed their intention to have a successful life but didn’t have the means or access to proper education. Hence, Apl.de.ap Foundation, which provide the tools to individuals, who are passionate and driven to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others, was born.
The foundation’s main goal is to help build classrooms, send children to school, as well as provide medical help to children with eye problems.
When he was young, apl.de.ap was diagnosed with nystagmus, or the involuntary, rapid, and repetitive movement of the eye or eyes. That’s why “the legally blind” hip hop artist is very passionate with this project.
To date, his foundation has successfully built 34 classrooms in the Philippines, established a computer laboratory and a recording and music studio in Angeles City, Pampanga, sponsored 14 scholars who are in the top ten percentile of their university and are involved in leadership community activities. It is currently rebuilding 20 classrooms in Zamboanga.
“Ten thousand kids will be going to that school so I’m very happy about that. We had 14 scholars, they’re top of the class and now they all have jobs. I’m so proud of them. I’m just happy to see other kids succeed, who had the same humble beginnings as me,” apl shared.
All proceeds from What’s Ap?: The Life Story of apl.de.ap will be given to the Apl.de.ap Foundation.