Chapter & Verse

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A classic spoken-word album by John Wayne spawns a patriotic picture-book for kids.

Written by Jenn Thornton

In 1973, just a few years after he won a Best Actor Oscar for “True Grit,” John Wayne gave another stellar performance, not for a film, but for a spoken-word album, “America, Why I Love Her,” featuring Duke’s stirring renditions of patriotic poems penned by actor James Mitchum, an actor who appeared with Wayne in the film “Chisum.” The well-received album was a hit, landing on the pop charts for 16 weeks and making it all the way to No. 13 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Album chart. Wayne also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken World album.

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Now the track Wayne is reported to have liked the most on the album is the basis for the new children’s book, also titled “America, Why I Love Her,” which dispatches the darling cowpoke of a character “Little Duke” to all corners of the country, from the “Carolina pines” to “the “Appalachia mines,” and all points in between, including Alaska, the Everglades, Waimea Reef, and Maine. Along the way Little Duke discovers a diverse America and the values that Wayne championed. With words from the original poem and vivid illustrations with a retro vibe, “America, Why I Love Her” is reminiscent of the old-timey Golden Books and a reminder of the beauty of our land. Also in production is a new coloring book—look for the red, white and blue.

Also available as a coloring book with crayons on!

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