It all started the day Sidney’s mom took him to EyeSeeMe, a bookstore in University City, Mo. that focuses on African American children’s literature. He loved books and wanted to read stories about African American kids and culture, but rarely found one in his school library Most of the books on those shelves were about famous African American civil rights leaders, but black people are more than that. Yet the minute he walked into EyeSeeMe, his awareness of African American children’s books changed.
Books ’N Bros welcomes any boys with a reading level of 3rd grade and above. Although all boys are welcome, one of their main goals is to encourage literacy within the young African American community and combat some of the negative stereotypes about that population. They meet the first Sunday of every month, chat about their books for an hour and then get about a half hour to play video games, board games and more.
Sidney’s mom took a video of him in the store, thrilled while seated on a rug and reading. Then they posted it on Facebook. That video spread like wildfire, getting over 63,000 views and more than 1000 shares. That’s when a lightbulb went off in his head. Why not start a book club to make reading fun for boys, particularly boys like Sidney, boys between the ages of seven and thirteen? And that’s exactly what Sidney and his mom did.
On average about twenty-five bros arrive at these local meeting. Books ’N Bros also has a virtual component where others can livestream with them to read and discuss the book. They hope to create chapters in other cities so bros can have the same bond Sidney and his pals get in St. Louis!
Sidney has become somewhat of a celebrity: the invited guest speaker at schools, featured in an edition of the Oprah Magazine, recognized by CNN as a Hero Young Wonder, and an invited guest on the Steve Harvey Show.