Our Authors' Stories in the President's Hands

SMP Meets Prez.jpg

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, I was given an incredible opportunity: to meet President Obama and put our authors' stories in his hands.

WHAT?!!  That's how I felt. Here's how it happened:

I was attending the Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University, where President Obama and a panel of thought leaders were discussing the human, moral, and economic costs of poverty in this country. Our DC teen authors--many who have grown up in shelters and housing projects, who have taken on raising themselves or younger siblings while parents struggle with unemployment or multiple jobs, with unstable housing or incarceration--have plenty to say about those human costs. They have plenty to say about pursuing greatness, too, against all odds.

Thanks to a generous White House staffer, I was able to meet the President before the event, to shake his hand, and to snap a photograph. (Coming soon!) But most importantly, I was able to tell him about our authors, and to put their own stories in his hands.

His response: "These are outstanding. Can I find out more? And can I write back to these authors?"

 

I said Of Course! and Oh Yes Yes Yes. 

I included a note with the books so the President can follow-up. I want our authors to know: They have done something big. Something worthy of the greatest attention of our most powerful leaders. Their stories matter to ALL of us, and they need to be heard. 

Stay tuned for author reactions. We'll show you what we can of this impact. But the best moments are for the authors themselves: lying awake at night in bed, mind whirring because YOUR STORY is being read: by children in every school in the city, by families across the country, and now even by the leader of the free world. And then a moment even better: getting out of bed that next morning, with new potential, new possibility, new purpose. 

Thank you for celebrating with us. Spread the word. And help us make this happen for more voices that need to be heard.  

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Last month DCPS Libraries requested every one of these books for every school in the city. This month their stories have reached the White House. You know well the profound power of being heard — not a riot, but a revolution: of dignity, of self- respect. These writers thank you for listening. I thank you.
— From Founder's letter to the President
Dear President,
I shared a story with you that people I’ve met before have not heard and I’m not sure if they ever will. It’s hard for me to open up to people... Growing up I’ve had a rough childhood, and it’s sad to say that I believe other kids are having a rough childhood at the moment... [I wrote this because] I want other kids to know even though I went through stuff, there is still much greater things in the future... To hear that you, being such an important person, took time to read stories from teens is just WOW. I just have more respect for you because you actually care and don’t just say you do. Thank you.
— M.S. Holiday, "How to Grow Up Like Me"
Dear Obama,
Thanks for reading our book. This means so much to me because as a young author, this is a huge accomplishment. This is so amazing for the President to read our book, and it’s in all the public libraries, too. I’m speechless.
— Serenity, "Trinitoga: Stories of Life in a Roughed-Up Tough-Love No-Good Hood"
Dear Mr. President,
I just want to say how thankful and blessed I am to have this opportunity. Me personally growing up in Southeast and being in the neighborhood, knowing that the President is reading our stories, it’s unreal... Hopefully this helps get the reputation off our school. You should come visit and see for yourself that Ballou is getting better and better every year and will hopefully become #1.
— Tarrance, "How to Grow Up Like Me"
Dear Obama,
...Thank you so much for being able to read our book and for taking time out of your day. I really do appreciate it. I am a young black writer and I love to write and this means so much to me. To know that the President is reading my book! Thank you!
— Jonae, "Trinitoga: Stories of Life in a Roughed-Up Tough-Love No-Good Hood"
Dear President Obama,
I’ve just heard about you reading our “How To Grow Up Like Me” book. I’m so excited to hear that you liked our book and will be writing back soon. I’ve written to you previously and the same jittery feelings are back. I look forward to hearing what you think about our book and hopefully you will read our book that’ll be out next month.”
— M.H. Jordan, "How to Grow Up Like Me"
Dear Obama,
Thank you very much for taking your precious time out of the day to take a look at our book. I really admire and respect that. I really hope you read and like it. I can’t wait until you receive our upcoming book. It’s twice as AWESOME.”
— Temil Whipple, "Trinitoga: Life in a Roughed-Up Tough-Love No-Good Hood"

PROUD AUTHORS

Excited? Make it Matter.

We want to do this for MORE writers who need it most, and we need support to make that happen. Shout Mouse can do big things! We know that. You know that. And we need you in order to do it.

  • If you are excited for our authors right now, support them. 
  • If you believe in our mission, support it. 
  • If you know me, and you can imagine me sitting here typing and dreaming big dreams for our authors but needing help to make it happen, support me.

It's hard to ask. But I'm asking.  -- Kathy, Founder

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Here are the books we shared with the President: