Bekki the Fairy meets Malcolm and Nia from The Magic Pencil
Bekki: Hello Malcolm, I am Bekki the Fairy from London and it is simply, frightfully splendid to meet you. As you can see I speak like the Queen. Or should I say “Yo, Malcolm, what’s the haps?’
Malcolm: Hello there Bekki! Veddy nice to make your acquaintance.
Bekki: I love the way you talk. The words just slide out! Are you allowed to talk like that in school?
Malcolm: Thanks! Glad you appreciate and unnerstan my usin it. Naw, in school the teachers want us to speak standard English. Sometimes I get away with it if I’m havin a quiet convo with one because they know I know when not to use it! They usually know what I’m sayin too.
Bekki: My brother Sam is very good at school but he is not cool. He says things like lickety split and jeepers creepers. Can you please help him to sound more cool?
Malcolm: Probly, but it might take a minute. That means a long time. But it can mean a short time too! A lot of the meanin of a word depends on how it’s said an in what context! An, if you can see the person, you gotta watch the way they move too. You know, understand they body language! Hey, do you see how I mix up the ways I talk together?
Bekki: I come from London but I am a mixture of Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Portugal and Scotland. Are you a mixture?
Malcolm: I ain had my DNA done yet, haha. But I think everybody is all a – uh – “mixture”. That sounds better than sayin you “mixed”. Makes it soun like talkin about dogs. Science says we all from Africa, anyway.
Bekki: What kinds of music do you like?
Malcolm: A lot. I got an open mine. You could dig for gold an fine it in there, haha. But I do like a lot of different kinds. That’s anotha thing that’s mixed!
Bekki: Do your relatives from Jamaica like reggae music? Do you?
Malcolm: Mostly. I like it now. I had to get used to it, though. My dad plays it a lot when we ridin together. He plays a lot of the classics and even new stuff.
Bekki: What is the best thing about your mum?
Malcolm: Awwww… Moms is great! We have our discrepancies but mostly we cool. She lets me be me as much as possible. And I respect her madly.
Bekki: I have one dad. Is it good having two?
Malcolm: Well, Mom an Jam ain married, yet. But he’s like another dad, and real fun! He got jokes! Dad is basically a standard dad. We cool an all but he don’t play unless it’s wit a soccer ball! Both a them treat me good and I always learn somethin new from em.
Bekki: I go to school in Dagenham where they used to make cars. What’s your favourite car and who is your favourite racing driver?
Malcolm: Right now, I like the Ferrari 488GTB. It got a twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 engine and can do 8000 rpm! It’s sweeeeeeeeet! I still like Lewis Hamilton. I like Nicole Lyons too! Bout time I found out about Black female drivers!
Bekki: What do you think of Lewis Hamilton?
Malcolm: He’s a baaaaad Brit brotha! Plus, he’s got a foundation so it makes me know he ain all bout the Benjamins – or whatever they call em where he lives. You know, the money, right?
Bekki: Will your mum and dad let you fuse your hair?
Malcolm: Oh, you mean grow locs? Well, I’m not a Rasta – oh, Rastafarian. That’s like a religion thang. They call theirs dreadlocks. I guess they will. Dad wants me to wait til I’m older cuz he thinks Mom won’t like em. But I think she won’t mind.
Bekki: Do you want me to do a magic spell to make your hair as long as your friend Nia’s?
Malcolm: Hahaha! Not really. I think it’ll be fun to let it do its own fusion in its own time!
Bekki: My baby-sitter Ruby saw Beyoncé when she came to London and showed me the video on her phone. Did you see Beyoncé when she sang a reggae song when she was on tour in America?
Malcolm: Nope. I only seen the videos. She’s done A LOT of reggae stuff! She’s global.
Bekki: I have a question for Nia. Nia, mum won’t let me use my magic wand to do my homework. Do you think that magic is good for homework?
Nia: Not really. It’s kind of cheating, don’t you think? You really won’t learn much more than how to use it better!
Bekki: (changing the subject quickly) I do skipping too. I like the rhyming songs. Have you got any good ones to share with me, please?
Nia: Yep! It’s the kind where you sort of run while you’re jumping. Ms. Quayle, one of my teachers, wrote the rhyme. It’s about a very smart boy named Wyatt. You say the first two parts and jump kind of fast. Then, when you say the third part you go really fast and stomp as you jump. Then you do the same steps for the next three parts. Everyone sings: “Quiet Wyatt! The grow folk say When-I-get-into-their-talking. You’re being smart, Now run and play. I-shake-my-head-as-I-start-walking.”
Bekki: I like rhyming. In London some people use Cockney rhyming slang. It is like a puzzle that you have to work out. So if I say ‘A cup of Rosie’ it means ‘a cup of tea’. Because Rosie Lee rhymes with tea! Can you guess what a syrup is? I’ll give you a clue – it goes on a bald man’s head!*
Malcolm: Uhhhhhhhhh, a stirrup?
Nia: Hmmm. A maple leaf!
Malcolm & Nia (in unison): Who’s right?
Bekki: Hee hee, nobody is right- a syrup is a wig – it rhymes with syrup of figs. But most wig shops don’t use that word so don’t make a fool of yourself!
Bekki: If the Pencil Fairy said she would give you whatever pencils you wanted what kind would you ask for? And what would you use them for?
Malcolm: A mechanical one with a never-ending lead and self- regenerating, not-smeary eraser. Plus, I can tell it to make its lead thicker or thinner, darker or lighter and harder or softer! That way I could use it for everything!
Nia: I guess the same thing would work for me. But I’d want mine to also change the lead’s color!
Bekki: My favourite teacher is Miss Treacle because she is kind and funny. She teaches science to my baby-sitters and to my brother, Sam. Who is your favourite teacher and why?
Nia: Oh, I love Ms. Winston. She is the perfect educator! But I also love Mr. Skye. I help him with the kindergarten kids. He is soooo wise and kind.
Malcolm: Hey Ms. Smarty, you sposed to name only one. I think mine’s Ms. Winston too because she keeps us learning and understands I get bored a lot. But Ms. Kady, the sub, is cool too. She makes things real excitin! I think she’s a chameleon cuz she changes up when she gotstuh!
Nia: You “sposed to name ON-LY one”, boy!
Malcolm: OK. Then I name ME. I teach my self to learn, gurl!
Bekki: Nia, what do you like about Malcolm?
Nia: Malcolm is a great friend; understanding and … loyal.
Bekki: And Malcolm what do you like about Nia?
Malcolm: Uh, she’s OK. Hahaha! Fa real, Nia is intriguing; never boring.
Bekki: Who wrote a book about you guys and why?
Malcolm & Nia: (in unison) Ms. Karen E. Dab-ney!
Malcolm: Well, she wants to get kids to read who may not know the fun part of it and she doesn’t think they have to stop talking one way to talk another way.
Nia: She likes to say “Teach and Lead. Reach and Read!” That means a teacher needs to figure out how to encourage children to want to read by figuring out what they need!
Bekki: Will you be in more books?
Malcolm: Oh, yeah. “Play Mom”, that’s what we call Ms. Dabney, is trying to decide what we will be doing next.
Nia: I think she wants to have us save the world! Maybe one book at a time.
Bekki: It has been marvellously, splendid and a’ight talking to you, Malcolm and Nia. Can we be friends?
Malcolm: Call me Malc. An, yeah. You gotta teach us some magical stuff, though.
Nia: Of course, we can, Bekki! Don’t pay any attention to Malcolm. I can tell he likes you! And I do too.
Bekki: C’mon, I’ll show you my wand.
Time to See The Books:
Do you want to read about Malcolm and Nia and learn code-switchin to talk like Malc?
Malcolm and Nia appear in the book The Magic Pencil. Click on the title or pic to see the book on Amazon. You can look inside the book too!
And Malcolm is on the cover of a book called The Magic Pencil Black Language Glossary. This cool book will teach you to speak Black English – take all the un-nessry letters out of your words and just flow. Try it…it might change how you feel about words. Malcolm will guide you. Get learnin