11-year-old creates Books N Bros bookclub to engage Black boys & promote African American literature

October 10, 2017
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11-year-old St. Louisan Sidney Keys III, like many black kids who enjoy reading, wanted to find books that make reading more enjoyable by engaging with books by and about people who are just like him. In comes Books N Bros.

“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,” the 11-year-old tells St. Louis on the Air. “I already love to read and since we don’t get that much time to read in school, we just discuss in groups. I wanted to read a book but I also wanted to discuss it with other people.”

Six months ago, Sidney’s mom, Winnie Caldwell, brought her son to EyeSeeMe, a bookstore in University City that centers black children’s literature in their collection. The trip was eye-opening trip for both mother and son “He hadn’t seen [a bookstore] like that before and I certainly never had[…]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.”

While the club is still small, membership continues to grow each month. They meet once a month to discuss the book that the club has voted on, share insights, and select next month’s reading. Winnie Caldwell, Sidney’s mom, says that the group has, so far, been reading books with an entrepreneurial spirit, like “Danny Dollar,” “Hidden Figures” and “Supah Dupah Kid.”

Book N Bros is, well, just for bros but Sidney and Winnie plan to collaborate with local 8-year-old Kennedy Rain Thompson’s Nerdy Girls club in the future!