With a desire for black boys to see themselves reflected in literature and to help improve the literacy rate, 11-year-old fifth-grader Sidney Keys III, from Russell Elementary in the Hazelwood School District in St. Louis, Missouri, has set out on a mission by starting his own reading club called Books N Bros, LLC.
“Every time I go to the library at my school, there aren’t many African American literature books there,” the preteen said on the radio show “St. Louis on the Air” earlier this month.
Keys had the opportunity to visit EyeSeeMe, a bookstore that promotes African American children’s literature in University City, Missouri, and was hooked on making sure that other young boys could experience the same positive feeling at seeing themselves in books. Keys immediately formed a book club using EyeSeeMe as their designated meeting space.
Since it’s inception, the club has met monthly to discuss books that they vote on. Although the focus of the books is on black characters, Books N Bros, LLC invites boys of all backgrounds to join for a $20 monthly membership fee which includes a book, worksheets to go along with the theme and snacks, of course. After book club, the boys also get to play video games at the Microsoft Store! Now, that’s a book club to join.
Although since September, the group remains small, between 7-10 boys, it continues to grow each month with both members and mentors.
When asked what his motivation was for founding the book club in general, Keys told The Huffington Post that, “my motivation is I already love to read but it would be awesome, even better, to read with other people. I want to keep doing it because I don’t know what will make me stop reading because I love to read.”
It is not doubt that this club will continue to grow and ultimately become a nation-wide phenomenon! To find out more about Books N Bros, LLC, check out Keys’ Instagram page here.