K'naan autobiography to be children's book

Toronto musician K'naan is writing a book to tell his life story, titled When I Get Older: The Story Behind Wavin' Flag.
K'naan, seen performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest in July, is writing an autobiography targetting a younger set. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

Like many music world stars, Toronto's K’naan is working on a book to tell his life story. However, unlike artists like Keith Richards or Rod Stewart, the Wavin’ Flag singer is penning his book for children aged 7 to 10.

Tundra Books announced the project, titled When I Get Older: The Story behind Wavin’ Flag, on Monday.

The 32-page book will have illustrations by artist Rudy Gutierrez as well as sheet music for Wavin’ Flag, K'naan's song chosen as the theme song for the international tour of the FIFA 2010 World Cup trophy.

Born in Somalia, K’naan left the country with his family, moving first to New York and then to Toronto in order to escape the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991. 

The forthcoming book will detail the challenges he faced in adjusting to life in a new country and how music became a way for him to connect with his past. It will also include a brief history of the Somalian conflict.

"I think of empathy as a muscle in the soul, which develops through the nutrition we provide for it. The stories we hear as children can be that nutrition," K’naan, a father of two, said in a press statement.

"I wanted to write a children's story that reflects the new immigrant's sense of family and identity, which can sometimes be lost in translation. In this book, the main character is Wavin' Flag, a song whose ownership has been long claimed by children all over the world."

The book will be released Sept. 25.