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Live your dream and read: tips from a dad who quit his job to rap children’s stories

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WATCH ABOVE: A Canadian children's author has combined his love of words with beats. Lexy the Rap Dad says his rhymes get kids reading. Kendra Slugoski reports – Jun 29, 2021

When you work in the corporate world, rapping doesn’t seem like a plausible career move.

One Ajax, Ont., father followed his dream and his rhymes and he admits it was “terrifying.”

It paid off.

It first started with a series of children’s stories under the banner Friendly Fables. Author, Alexis Alexander wrote children’s books that were easy to recite and follow along.

Author, Alexis Alexander has penned a series of popular children’s books. Supplied

When his infant son was sick and needed surgery, Alexander quit his day job to spend more time with his family.

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“My days were spent talking with wealth advisors and companies and not doing what I’m doing now, which is what I love,” said Alexander.

The father of two started reading to children in schools and hospitals, donating all the proceeds from the sale of his book Heroic Hospital Quest to the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto.

“Walking the halls of SickKids really inspired something in me,” said Alexander.

Curious kids also inspire the children’s author. It was a teacher at one of the schools he visited that suggested he rap his rhyming lyrics.

“Everything changed,” said Alexander, including his name. He transformed to, “Lexy the Rap Dad.”

His new job is a lot more fun.

Lexy the Rap Dad combines beats with his stories. He visits schools and hospitals to share his love of literacy. Supplied

“Every step of the way our number one goal is to make kids happy and bring them joy. I think right now, more than ever, kids need to giggle and laugh and have fun.

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“There’s not a lot of chance for them to be free and to laugh without someone telling them, ‘You have to take a step back! Oh, we can’t be out there right now.'”

The Rap Dad has an ulterior motive. His love for literacy shines through on his “Rap-A-Long” songs.

He wants all kids to have the same love for reading, but said in the digital world some children need more.

The Rap Dad pivoted to music videos, bringing his stories to life on his own YouTube channel.

“You really have to find a different way to reach kids and make it exciting for them.”

Nothing excites him more than hearing kids and adults sing along to his rap songs. As a father to two young children, Ella and Lochlan, Lexy knows songs are often on repeat.

“I’ve had parents tell me they’ve listened to the Friendly Fables album even when their kids aren’t in the car, which I think is hilarious.

“That gives me a lot of pride knowing the kids know all the lyrics to the songs. It’s getting them reading which is super cool!”

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There is one song and video in particular that is a big hit with his audience.

A song all about…

Farts are funny but I’m not sure why. Some are smelly and make you cry,” rapped Lexy.

“Now it’s not polite to fart that’s true. It actually means you need to go poo! I fart a lot when I eat cauliflower. I once had a fart that contained super power!”

His debut rap album based on his children’s books reached number one on the iTunes children’s music chart in Canada.

A new album will be released soon and Lexy broadened his music genre to include a rock song in collaboration with a famous Canadian guitarist.

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The two grew up and played soccer together as kids. Lexy hinted that song is all about dragons and interrupting.

Lyrics that have a lesson, but more importantly he said, getting kids to love words.

While his storytelling medium has changed over time, Lexy said reading with your family never goes out of style.

Nor does following your dreams.

“Not in a million years would I have thought I’d be rapping but I’m so happy that I am.”

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