Introducing the new children's book

I'll Go Rhythm

Read the story about Charlie, a creative kid who loves to play drums and hang out with their friends.

Charlie meets, AL, an algorithm who can promise Charlie everything and anything, but at what cost?

Journey down the rabbit hole of the internet through the eyes of a child.

Follow Charlie on a path of self-discovery and the realization that the online world isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

This new book is perfect for family discussions about the importance of balancing technology.  

Available now online and at your local bookstore.

Words by Justin Webb
Pictures by Kayla Stark

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I'll Go Rhythm for their kids.

See the Reviews for I'll Go Rhythm

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Publishers Weekly Review (January 3, 2022 Edition)

In this offbeat picture book warning against the dangers of artificial intelligence, imaginative Charlie follows his algorithm, AL, on a surreal journey to discover the inner workings of the internet. AL makes big promises in an effort to ensnare Charlie—he vows to make him a star, be his best friend, and teach him all he needs to know—but soon Charlie learns that AL’s gifts come with a hefty cost. To reach the fame and fortune of his dreams, Charlie will need to stop thinking for himself while also disconnecting from others—a price he’s not sure he is willing to pay.

After blindly following AL through his “sifted” and “filtered” reality, in the process learning how to pump out copycat creations that will attract the most followers, Charlie eventually takes a stand against AL and insists on marching to the beat of his own drum. “I’ll-go-rhythm instead,” he declares, opting to “explore real places” and offering readers a last-minute lesson about the origins of happiness: “It comes from helping others and having real relationships.” Adult readers will find the book’s championing of imagination and individuality valuable, though the moral about “real” relationships might land with more power if Charlie developed one within the story itself.

Illustrator Kayla Stark employs subdued hues and delicate lines to illuminate the story, and her geometric drawings fit the quirky theme. Especially effective: a haunting vision of a chain of identical children in violet coats, holding each others’ hands and bright red hearts, saying “We’re all alike. That’s what we do.” Webb’s rhyming is occasionally forced, but young readers will enjoy some of the more clever and tongue-twisting moments. The conceit of collecting those hearts as a measure of “how much you’re liked,” and a hint about online news being filtered to promote conformity, are heavy topics for the age group, but most readers will find the theme—and the warning—relevant and resonant.

Takeaway: A young boy learns that creativity beats out conformity in this cautionary tale against online living.

Great for fans of: Matteo Loglio’s Many Intelligences, Michael Rex’s Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A

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This was a sweet and up-to-the-minute book of about 20 pages, creatively illustrated by Stark, and written in rhyme by Webb. It's about how people are herded and misled by the social media that most of us are hobbled to. I loved the title! Very much my kind of a play on words!

If you wanted to watch something truly scary for Halloween, you should have ditched the usual fare and watched a documentary on Netflix titled The Social Dilemma which is about how the social networks drill down on you and record your every nuance every time you do anything online. They know you better than you know yourself and they have algorithms in place to take advantage of the vast database that they own and that is you, and they will feed you things that are not intended to be necessarily in your best interest, but which are certainly intended to stroke your ego and keep you addicted to the platform you're on. There's a reason people who avail themselves of these services are called 'users'. It's the reason I have zero social media presence.

That was very much a documentary aimed at grown-ups; this book could well be the young children-accessible equivalent, right here. The story explains in terms children can understand, how your 'phantom friend' will come and lure you into seeking approval, getting those all-important likes, going down rabbit holes that reinforce themselves all along the way, and essentially wasting time getting depressed about your life and feeling bad about yourself, buoyed up just enough, now and then from the occasional thrill of finding something you like or that seems designed especially with you in mind, to keep you coming back. It's a sad and dependent way to live, and this book illustrated the dangers admirably - along with the wise choice of the girl to go her own way and follow the beat of her own drum. I commend it as a worthy read.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ian W.

Reviewer

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A very interesting kids book about how social media "likes" don't equate to making us feel better or valued. Happiness comes from making connections with others instead of external sources - such a great message! And cute illustrations too.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Logan R.

Reviewer

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4.5 stars! This was a very delightfully unique story about a potentially heavy topic. I think it handled the discussion on social media, self-esteem, and thinking for oneself very well, but I think it might go over the heads of younger readers. I think it would be perfect for slightly older kids, perhaps Grades 3-5. as I think that would be the ideal age group for this story for the message to really get across. Anything younger would have to be accompanied by a discussion on social media and self-image, or else children might be slightly confused. I also thought it was odd that in some places it would follow a rhyming scheme and then suddenly break it. Perhaps that was intentional, but it did pull me out of the story a bit. Nevertheless, I thought the story was engaging and impactful, and the illustrations were beautiful and captivating for any age group.

 

The use of contrast was especially powerful in the illustrations in this novel. I would definitely buy this title for my library!

Additional remarks:

Is your library likely to purchase this title? Yes


Will you recommend this title through Readers’ Advisory, book clubs, events, etc? Yes

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Alexondra R.

Librarian

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This seemingly simplistic children's story was a cautionary tale about getting sucked into digital experiences. Told in rhyming verse, and illustrated with childlike drawings, the story seems so innocent but tells about much bigger dangers that we as adults succumb to as well as children.

I think the message is very important and the play on words of Algorithm and I'll Go Rhythm was a meaningful way to get the idea across. This would be a good way to start conversations about safety in the digital age and the dangers that aren't as evident, such as confirmation bias and losing one's sense of self to the approval of others.

This book would be a great tool for counselors, teachers and librarians to kick off important conversations.

Additional remarks:

Is your library likely to purchase this title? Yes


Will you recommend this title through Readers’ Advisory, book clubs, events, etc? Yes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Carolyn C.

Librarian

Also available at independent bookstores

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Look Inside the book: I'll Go Rhythm

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About the Author: Justin Webb

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Like Charlie, author Justin Webb loves to play music and hang out with friends and family. He dreamed up this story during a long run through the winding trails surrounding his home in Middle Tennessee. Justin lives with this wife, children and border collie. They love camping, hiking, bouncing on their trampoline and making s'mores.

About the Illustrator: Kayla Stark

Illustrator Kayla Stark lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two cats. When she's not busy illustrating memorable characters like AL and Charlie in her upstairs studio, Kayla loves hanging out with friends and family. She also enjoys playing board games, traveling, learning languages and exploring nature.

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Buy the Book Now!

I'll Go Rhythm is available at your favorite bookstore.

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Buy the book from independent bookstores:

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Are you an Independent Bookseller?

Email us to carry I'll Go Rhythm in your bookstore.

Or fill out this form:

Bring I'll Go Rhythm to your bookstore

Thanks for your message, we'll respond within the next business day.