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Another African-American child is vigorously advocating for the availability of books in which Black children can see themselves.

Sidney Keys III, an 11-year-old from St. Louis, launched his own reading club for boys, called Books N Bros, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

“Books N Bros is a book club for boys, and we read books and African-American literature because every time I go to the library at my school, there aren’t many African-American literature books there,” he told the radio station.

Sidney’s inspirational moment came during a visit to EyeSeeMe, a bookstore that promotes African-American children’s literature, said Sidney’s mother, Winnie Caldwell.

She recorded a video of Sidney in the bookstore that went viral, attracting more than 63,000 viewers and shared more than 1,700 times.


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Caldwell summed up the experience, from St. Louis Public Radio:

“He hadn’t seen [a bookstore] like that before and I certainly never had, so he was making himself comfortable on the floor, reading a book. … When you get to a point when he is 11 years old and it was so shocking for him to relate to someone on the cover in a positive aspect rather than it be some negative urban story we see a lot. I would like to make sure he sees himself in being whatever he can be.”

That led Sidney to create a book club so that others could share his experience. Books N Bros targets boys 8-10 years old from all backgrounds.

“We specifically reach out to boys around ages 8-10 because that is statistically the age they stop reading — we wanted to combat that,” Caldwell explained.

For a monthly membership fee of $20, they receive a book, worksheets and a snack during meetings at EyeSeeMe. A Black male mentor meets with the boys at each meeting.

Looking to the future, Sidney envisions a Books N Bros club in cities across the nation.

SOURCE: St. Louis Public Radio


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11-Year-Old Literacy Advocate Promotes Books For Black Boys  was originally published on