Sidney Keyes III and his mother, Winnie Caldwell, visited a bookstore in University City, Mo. called EyeSeeMe, where Caldwell made a video of her son reading. She knew they were on to something when she posted it on Facebook and it received 63,000 views. Keys was intrigued by the many different books about black culture and the lives of black people in general. It opened his eyes and inspired him to want to do something. He was so inspired that he and his mother discussed possibilities, and Books N Bros’ was born.
Books N Bros’ is a book club founded by 11-year-old Keys and is intended to get more black boys between the ages of eight to 10 to read. It also inspires interest in black culture by encouraging them to read black literature. Boys tend to shy away from reading as they progress through school. It happens around the ages of 8-years-old to 11. White boys in school are also at risk of falling behind in literacy skills.
There is a widely recognized gender gap in literacy skills between grade school boys and girls in the U.S. Keys is an exception in this case, because he loves to read and wants to gather other young men like him who also enjoy reading. Keys was invited to an interview on “St. Louis on the Air” where he and his mother explained his love for reading, and the mission of the book club.
Keys stated, “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.” Book clubs also help to foster better reading comprehension because it is a learning environment where people can talk about what they have read.
Hopefully, Books N Bros’ will continue to grow from its small member group of about seven to 10 members meeting monthly, to a much larger group. The growth will not stop there, as they grow, they will likely inspire other young men to read more.
What do you think of young black boys meeting and reading together? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter @lcarterwriter.