I walked into a room of five boys and five men yesterday afternoon, more than exhausted from two weeks of working around the clock to finish edits to my new children’s novel, Darius Daniels: Game On! I had been excitedly anticipating this day, though, for six weeks. And now it had arrived.
The boys were watching television and playing on their phones and I was about to interrupt with conversations about books and literacy. For a moment, it gave me pause. They had never met me, hadn’t heard of me until maybe a week prior, and weren’t sure what to expect. I knew next to nothing of them, either, except that they were members of a new mentoring program offered by Faith Focused Ministries, headed by a dear family friend, Minister Curtis Head. They were from ages 6 to 13 and live in suburban Maryland.
I began by asking them questions about the book, based on the poster. Then about reading, based on a my poem Why I Read, and then we read several pages of Darius Daniels: Game On!
Here’s what they had to say:
“It was a really smart book and you wrote all the pages by yourself and it was really impressive!” – Marco, 2nd grader
“I think the book was very detailed and creative.” – Olamide, 3rd grade
“This book is good so far because of the rhythm.” – Bryce, 7th grader, who also was inspired to write a poem after reciting Why I Read with the other boys and me.
“I don’t usually read books without pictures. But I wanna read this book! I think it’s gonna be very good.” – Zion, 1st grader, who confidently read a page of the 4th grade level book out loud.
“The book was really good and entertaining and I loved it!” -John, 8th grader, who said earlier in the day that he didn’t really like to read.
These young men are the reason this book and the Hungry Readers campaign exist. They are proof that there’s no reason we should continue to allow 30 million children in America each year to read below grade level. Our children are hungry to read, to write, to learn, to live vibrantly and abundantly. All they need is for us to bring experiences to them, fearlessly, with love and devotion.
PLEASE go to www.carolinebrewerbooks.com to register for the campaign, be first to receive chances to win books, hear new music from the book’s soundtrack, and learn about other exciting opportunities! And please set your calendars for November 1, 2019 to buy copies of Darius Daniels: Game On! for yourself and others, like these brilliant young men! My deepest thanks to Minister Curtis and his team for the commitment they’ve made to these wonderful young men and to all of you!