In the summer of 2013, Mark Hecker of Reach, Inc. asked me to help his DC teens write books for the kids they were tutoring. I said YES, and the power of that work opened up a new path. Within the year, Shout Mouse Press was born, and now those original 4 books have grown to 12, by 65 different at-risk teen authors, from DC to Haiti. And now those books are in demand.
Today, Mark and I delivered nearly 1,000 of our teen-authored books to DCPS Libraries, who want every one of our titles in every single DC Public School.
Every book in every school. You should have seen our authors’ faces when we got to tell them that news.
It’s a good day for Reach, for Shout Mouse, and for all our authors, including those from Restavek Freedom Foundation, Beacon House, and Ballou SHS. And next week when those books go on the shelves and the first curious readers pick them up to read, it will be pretty much the best.
Thank you, DC Public Schools !! And a huge thank you to Kate Mester, Special Librarian for DCPS, who made this all possible. Check out some excerpts from our conversation about why DCPS wants to support diverse literature, diverse authors, and empowering books by unheard voices.