11-year-old Starts Book Club for Boys

Most 11 year olds are playing Minecraft and into the latest bottle tossing craze. Sidney Keys III however, has recently started a book club for boys focused on helping them find characters who look like themselves.

On a trip to the University City, Missouri bookstore EyeSeeMe, Sidney and his mom found an entire children’s book section dedicated to books that featured characters from the African diaspora. Sidney was thrilled. “Every time I go to the library at my school, there aren’t many African American literature books there,” he told radio program St. Louis on the Air. His mother, Winnie Caldwell, shot a video of him reading which has been viewed more than 60,000 times.

Sidney decided to start a book club for boys like him who wanted to see themselves in books. Books ‘n Bros had their first meeting at EyeSeeMe. The club costs $20, and for that, boys of all races can come together once a month, discuss the book they decided on, enjoy snacks, and play video games on the store’s console.

The first meeting was a success according to his mother, teaching him leadership and speaking skills. Ty Allen Jackson, the author of their inaugural book, DANNY DOLLAR MILLIONAIRE EXTRAORDINAIRE joined the boys via Skype. But more importantly, the club continues to grow.

You can find out more about the Books ‘n Bros club at their Instagram page or at their website.

Additional resources: Sidney’s interview on St. Louis Public Radio.

 

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7 Responses to 11-year-old Starts Book Club for Boys

  1. Lystria Hurley says:

    Reblogged this on Lystria Hurley Blog and commented:
    This post lets us know that there is a strong possibility that children today may still have the same goals, dreams, and aspirations as children in the 80’s and 90’s. Just because they value different hobbies and don’t do the same exact thing their parents were doing at their age; doesn’t mean we give up on them or limit their opportunity. We just have to place them in situations and places where they can use their imagination and leadership skills.

  2. Jane says:

    This is truly inspirational. It is true that most 11 year olds are into the iPads, television, social media, and things like that. So to see kids show leadership and courage to follow something that they are passionate about is amazing. I can say that I would get excited to see a book with a character who looked like me or even acted like me. I loved hearing the story about Sidney and I can’t wait to hear more about his success!

  3. Sean A. says:

    As a father of an eleven year old boy, I would love for my son to be involved in something like this. It is always a struggle to get him to read. Perhaps this approach would motivate him to read more often. It’s amazing that this child was able to Skype with an author; what a powerful experience. I’m impressed with his entrepreneurship! Kudos to his family for their support.
    It’s too bad his library didn’t meet his needs and he had to go in search of books on his own. Public libraries should represent everyone in every culture.

  4. Thao Nguyen says:

    I’m very happy to see that a young man like Sidney Key III is going out to find books that speak to him. There are not that many books that have an African American main character or any books that have African American character that are being portray correctly. The effort that Sidney parent is putting into his learning is great and I will definitely do the same whenever I have a child of my own. I hope that Sidney will write a children book of his own one day, to create something that he would enjoy. I hope that there will also be a lot more mentors that would motivate these boys to do something great. It a great start for children in the University City, Missouri and they should put more effort in these reading clubs and expands the club.
    I also believe other libraries around the country should adapt the same reading club setup. Have a weekend where kids can get together a share their knowledge of the books they have read or just let them be around a great environment. I think doing that would do a lot more goods then bad and it could create a good after school program.

  5. Shauntal Davis says:

    As a future teacher, I am still amazed at times how well children observe their surroundings. This young man realized there was a lack of diversity in the books he was reading in his school library, so instead of him just sitting back and accepting the fact he wasn’t seeing characters who looked like him, he did something about it. Not only has he successfully started his own business but most importantly he has cultivated an atmosphere for young boys just like him who are looking for characters in there reading with whom they feel they have something in common; to come together and read and network while also enjoying each others company.

    I have complete respect for this young man and his parents who where bold enough to see the need , and act on that need. If we had a community of youth who stepped forward when they saw a problem and came up with solutions the public school system would be revolutionized.

  6. As a future teacher, I am still amazed at times how well children observe their surroundings. This young man realized there was a lack of diversity in the books he was reading in his school library, so instead of him just sitting back and accepting the fact he wasn’t seeing characters who looked like him, he did something about it. Not only has he successfully started his own business but most importantly he has cultivated an atmosphere for young boys just like him who are looking for characters in there reading with whom they feel they have something in common; to come together and read and network while also enjoying each others company.

    I have complete respect for this young man and his parents who where bold enough to see the need , and act on that need. If we had a community of youth who stepped forward when they saw a problem and came up with solutions the public school system would be revolutionized. This young man probably does not yet realize what a true inspiration he is to his peers, but hopefully someday he will see what he has done for his community.

  7. Cidney Lett says:

    I really liked this post; it is such an inspiration. It is great to see that someone as young as Sidney is able to value education and reading, and see how important they are. I believe that starting a book club was a great idea because it presents a positive environment for young males to be a part of. By making reading fun, Sidney is helping young males, especially African-American males, become more engaged in learning and more motivated to read.

    I also liked how this post mentioned how thrilled Sidney was to see books at the bookstore with characters that looked like him, and how his school library did not carry many African-American literature books. I believe it is so important for black students to see characters that look like them in books, because it can help them feel more connected to their culture, and in turn help to increase their feelings of belonging and self-worth. It is also beneficial for schools and public libraries to carry books that portray black characters, because black students may become frustrated with or become discouraged, always having to read about white protagonists.

    Overall, I believe Sidney is on his way to great things and I am in total support of his book club and what it stands for. I hope his book club continues to grow, and continues to help young males, of all races.

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