Nick talked to the famed New York Daily News about his latest literary work Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems.
His new book for children offers a cornucopia of musings that deal with haters, heartbreak to bolstering self-esteem.
“I’m talking about relationships in there,” Cannon, 34, tells the Daily News. “Like how I really feel being in love (in ‘Flourescent Essence’), and then there’s definitely some humor in there that you’re like, ‘OK, I see where he’s going with that!’ ”
And also where Cannon has been. In one poem, “Just Like You,” the long-running host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and “Wild ’N Out” on MTV writes about growing up on food stamps.
When asked how he deals with haters and naysayers even as an adult Cannon states “I don’t allow hate to come into my heart,”. “I encourage young people to embrace your flaws, because your flaws make you flawless.”
Nick shared that he deals with his personal life by writing, spending time with his and Carey’s 3-year-old twins whom he dedicated the book to, and serving on the board of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Queens.
“Writing is something I’ve always done, whether it was lyrics or television scripts,” he says. “It allows you to focus on happiness when there are hardships and difficult times. And when I go to St. Mary’s, it really puts everything into the proper perspective.”
Cannon credits Shel Silverstein for making him fall in love with writing — and he pays that debt forward with this book, illustrated by Cannon and acclaimed street artists including Art Mobb, Califawnia and Captain Kris.
Given his affection for the earlier poet, Cannon did the illustration for “Remembering Shel,” an ode to a writer whose poems were “truest to me,” Cannon explains.
“I’m not the world’s greatest illustrator, but neither was Shel Silverstein. I figured, I’ll take a stab at it.”
Inspired so obviously by Silverstein, Cannon’s poems include silly ditties on cafeteria ladies, homework-stealing aliens and robot dinosaurs, as well as plenty of gross-out bathroom humor, like eating boogers, that many kids will probably get a kick out of.
“I think farting is hilarious,” he admits. “I like to make fun of things that people think are taboo. Life, you can’t take it too seriously. You’ve only got one, so enjoy it.”
But there are more nuanced works, as well. He wrote “Daddy’s Shoes” after seeing his son Moroccan (aka Roc) playing in his clothes.
“I was watching him in these giant Timbaland boots, just trying to walk, and it made me think of my father and my grandfather, and the great things they’ve done, and the wisdom they’ve passed on to me,” says Cannon.
There are tributes to supermoms, whose powers include finding needles in haystacks and healing with kisses, and the glow of young love that should resonate with many readers.
“It comes from a simplistic place that I feel like everyone can embrace,” says Cannon. “So a 6-year-old can pick this up, and a 60-year-old can pick it up, and everybody will enjoy it just the same.”