Jimmie Allen, the top-charting country singer-songwriter, is celebrating the power of speaking up with his debut children's book.
The father of two — who was the first Black artist to launch his career with two consecutive No. 1 hits on country radio — will release My Voice Is a Trumpet with Flamingo Books on July 13, 2021, PEOPLE can exclusively announce.
"I think back on all the great people in my life, from my parents to my teachers, and the wonderful influence they had on me," Allen, 34, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. "I wanted to write a book that would help my kids and other children when they read it."
He continues: "I've learned that writing a book and songwriting have a lot in common — it's all about the honesty and connection with the audience. I wrote about what I would want to read as a kid, and things I learned that helped me."
Not only has Allen created platinum-selling records, he's talked about the need for racial justice during the Black Lives Matter movement and his experience as one of the few well-known Black country artists. With his book, Allen hopes to inspire others — including his kids— to use their voice. (Allen shares 6-month-old daughter Naomi Betty with fiancée Alexis Gale, and has a son Aadyn, 6, from a previous relationship.)
"It's very important to me that kids learn at a young age that they have a voice, and that it is powerful. It is up to us as adults to teach them to use their voice to encourage and show love," Allen said. "Being a father of two kids, I try to encourage them to be themselves and love everyone around them. I'm hoping this book inspires at least one child and they always remember their voice is a trumpet."
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My Voice Is a Trumpet, which is illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson, features a diverse range of characters, who speak up about what matters to them. "From voices that roar like a lion, to voices small as a bee," reads the book description, "all it takes is confidence and a belief in the goodness of others to change the world."
For Allen, it's never too early to teach kids to fight for what they believe in.
"I was inspired by an interview Jimmie gave in the wake of the protests against police brutality in summer of 2020 and knew he would be the perfect author for a children's book," said VP and publisher Margaret Anastas, who will edit the book. "My Voice Is a Trumpet is a gentle call to action and a reminder that there's never a wrong time to use your voice."
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