Hip-hop is for kids, at least according to book publisher Scholastic, who is producing a new book-and-CD series titled Hip Kid Hop. The series will pair a children's book -- aimed at kids ages 4-10 --

Hip-hop is for kids, at least according to book publisher Scholastic, who is producing a new book-and-CD series titled Hip Kid Hop. The series will pair a children's book -- aimed at kids ages 4-10 -- with a two-track CD that includes the "rap version" of the story performed by a popular hip-hop artist as well as a music-only track so the children can rap along as they read.

The first two releases in the series, due in September, feature LL Cool J and Doug E. Fresh. LL Cool J's story is titled "And the Winner Is," and follows a young basketball player learning life lessons through the games he plays. The music was produced by Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence, who previously worked with LL Cool J on his worldwide 1997 hit "Phenomenon."

"One of the most important things you can do, as a celebrity, is to use your influence to impact kids in a positive way," the rapper, who is a father of four, said in a statement. "Kids love music and, through this book and CD, they can learn the valuable lesson of good sportsmanship. Kids also love entertainment and by following along with the words in the book they will learn how to rap while inspiring them to read."

Doug E. Fresh wrote "Think Again," which tells the story of two children of different skin color who grow to realize how much they have in common and turn their dislike into friendship. Prince Paul (De La Soul, Handsome Boy Modeling School) produced the music track for "Think Again."

"I wrote this book because I think children are beautiful and I believe tolerance for diversity is one of the most valuable lessons you can teach a child," Fresh said. "Kids love hip-hop music and picture books, so this is a great way to reach them about this important issue and help them have greater respect and appreciation for one another."

After the initial September releases, four more book-and-CD packages are planned for 2003, including contributions from Shaggy and Common.

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