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Matthew McConaughey is sharing poetic wisdom in his newest children’s book, Just Because. Out today on Penguin Random House and illustrated by Renée Kurilla, the 32-page tome contains playful life lessons in the form of couplets created for 4- to 8-year-olds — but readers of all ages can pick up a few good words of advice.
In an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition, the Academy Award-winning actor and author explained how he hopes the book also sparks conversations between parents and kids and inspires grown-ups to let their inner child out. Just Because is McConaughey’s second book following his New York Times best-selling memoir, Greenlights, released in 2021.
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“Just because they don’t hear you, doesn’t mean you have no voice. Just because you follow, doesn’t mean you’re not a leader,” reads two couplets. “Just because I’m sitting still, doesn’t mean that I’m not busy. Just because you got the gold, doesn’t mean that you won,” suggests two others.
“Just because when we’re young, we like to do things because we can, even if we don’t want to or need to. We grow older and we get a little more mature. And we start to measure our decisions, not based on just if we can,” McConaughey tells NPR’s A Martinez. “But we ask ourselves, we consider, well, I know I can. But do I want to or need to? That’s smart. That’s maturity. That’s evolution. But I just wanted to remind the kid in all of us that ‘because you can’ can still be a good reason to do something. And not in a foolish way.”
McConaughey continues, “[Just Because is] showing all the contradictions that we all have with ourselves, with each other and understanding human relationships. It’s just saying just because it’s one thing doesn’t mean it can’t be another. It’s that both are true.”
The 53-year-old actor is the father of three children (ages 15, 13 and 10) who say he’s been instilling the book’s ideas in them for years. “One of the couplets is, ‘Just because you threw shade doesn’t mean that I’m out of the sun. And just because they shut me down doesn’t mean I have not won.’ You know, this throwing shade, or trolling, or negative response or comment on something you thought was cool, or true, doesn’t mean that it steals your joy. Does it mean that that has to affect your whole day or your whole mood? … Because, talking about the social media world, they will pile on. And then all of sudden, you can start piling on yourself.”
“So we’ve had some cool conversations about these about different couplets in our family. I’m finding that after I’m having conversations with my kids about this book, I’m still continuing conversations with myself, conversations with my wife, conversations with other people about some of these couplets.”
McConaughey will celebrate his new book with appearances at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Massachusetts, and Book Passage in San Francisco on Thursday; and at Barnes & Noble at The Grove and the Robert Frost Auditorium in Los Angeles on Saturday. Learn more here, and shop Just Because on hardcover, e-book and audiobook (narrated by the author himself) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, Target, Walmart and other online and brick-and-mortar booksellers.
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