Inspired by African American bookstore, boy starts book club for peers

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Sidney Keys III may only be 11 years old, but he’s already shaping up to be quite the trailblazer. Six months ago, he formed Books N Bros LLC to celebrate black books and improve literacy amongst his peers. They focus on books with black characters, but boys of all backgrounds are invited to join.

Sidney told the radio program “St. Louis on the Air” that “every time I go to the library at my school, there aren’t many African American literature books there.” 

But that all changed when his mother, Winnie Caldwell, took him to the African American Children’s Bookstore EyeSeeMe in University City, Missouri. He had never seen so many books that reflected his culture, and was instantly inspired. 

Sidney and his mother did some research and found that the reading skills of 8 to 10 year-old boys tend to start falling behind those of girls. With Books N Bros, boys 8 to 12 years old meet once a month and focus on literacy, fun, and friendship. 

Since starting in September, they have received more than 250 books in donations, and even got some help from the author of their inaugural book, “Danny Dollar.” Ty Allan Jackson saw Sidney reading his book in a Facebook video, and joined the meeting via Skype. 

Sidney continued, “My motivation is I already love to read but it would be awesome, even better, to read with other people.” 

Watch the video to see how Sidney is writing his own great story.

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