Successful African Americans writers are giving away their books to get young males in Mississippi excited about reading. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
"I think that they are blown away to meet four African American male writers," said Miller.
Children's book author/illustrator David Miller and his colleagues are here at Tougaloo College, for the Young Males of Color Reading Challenge. The goal is to get third through fifth grade African American boys excited about reading over the summer. Miller, a former teacher, is a consultant with the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color in Massachusetts.
"Nine more books in the balcony. They're coming," said Miller.
The authors are giving 450 boys from Jackson, McComb and Sun Flower School Districts two autographed books with a message-- "Khalil's Way," which is about a young boy who is
bullied because he's gifted in math and "The Green Family Farm," the story of a Brooklyn family that creates an organic farm. According to the National Assessment for Educational Progress, only 12 percent of African American males are proficient in reading by eighth grade and Mississippi is one of 10 states with the lowest literacy rates. David Miller.
"We decided since when you at a lot of the state data in the State of Mississippi, black boys in real trouble when it comes to reading and writing," said Miller.
Patrick Bracey is a 5th grade student at Walton Elementary School in Jackson. He does love to read and wants to be an engineer and a writer.
"I think that the books are very encouraging in telling us not to ever give up," said Bracey.
David Miller says they'll be back in four months to work with parents. The project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.