Vooks has launched an animated storybook celebrating the life of Irving Berlin. The book centers on the obstacles that he overcame to live his dream in America. It’s a beautiful biography representing his work and background that readers young and old will enjoy.
Vooks Celebrates One of America’s Most Iconic Songwriters with the Newly Animated Storybook “Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing”
The 2018 Storybook Boasts an Original Score Inspired by the Sounds Made Famous by Irving Berlin Throughout His Acclaimed Career
Vooks, the world’s first and only streaming platform bringing storybooks to life through animation, announces the launch of the newly-animated 2018 biographical offering “Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing.” The musical tale is written by Nancy Churnin, with beautiful illustrations from James Rey Sanchez; an all-new original score created by Vooks composer Aaron Peterson, under the musical direction of Grant Harold; and read by Matthew Christopher Thompson, who as fate would have it, is the grandson of Johnny V.R. Thompson – original cast member of Berlin’s 1949 musical Miss Liberty, and the voice inspiration behind Berlin’s “Paris Wakes Up And Smiles.”
“Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing” takes readers through the incredible life of the future Oscar®-, Tony®-, and GRAMMY®-winning songwriter Irving Berlin, opening as he bravely boards a boat bound for America from his native Russia. Inspired by the sight of the Statue Of Liberty, young Irving vows to one day write a song for her—setting into motion a journey that takes the small boy from singing for pennies on the streets of New York, to selling his first original song at the age of 19, for 37 cents, and even achieving the rank of Sergeant writing music for the United States Army during WWI. The book, and Irving’s story, comes full circle during WWII when he creates the enduring anthem “God Bless America,” which delivered great hope and comfort to the people during that time, and continues to do so for all Americans today.
The storybook’s original score provides a meaningful soundtrack as Berlin’s life unfolds from page to page. The music was created for the book by Peterson, who dedicated many hours to studying Berlin’s classic catalog which includes “White Christmas,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Happy Holiday,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” and “Cheek To Cheek,” to name only a few. Together with a team of musicians playing trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, piano, and drums, Peterson scored the book in the same fashion as a film—devising a multi-layered soundtrack meant to evoke some of Berlin’s finest melodies while standing uniquely on its own.
“Bringing this stunning storybook to life was truly an incredible experience, and an exciting challenge that our talented team embraced wholeheartedly,” said Russell Hirtzel, Vooks Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer. “Most people know Irving Berlin’s music, even if they don’t realize it. Berlin’s contribution to music, film and the stage not only defined a generation, but is still having an impact even today. What most people don’t know are the incredible obstacles Berlin had to overcome along his path. From a homeless immigrant boy in a foreign land, to one of the worlds most beloved songwriters, Berlin’s life is an inspiration like few others. With this new animated children’s book, Irving Berlin’s story of passion, determination, grit, creativity, and success can now inspire readers of all ages, for generations to come.”