Four Upcoming Children's Books

We’ve finished our seventh summer of writing workshops with the teen tutors of Reach to create four new children's books. These students were excited to create stories that will inspire and educate the young people they tutor and throughout their community. They spent four weeks writing with the help of our story coaches, brought their characters to life with up and coming illustrators, and learned what it takes to create a children's book. Now that the authors have finished writing, our illustrators are working on bringing their stories to life! Books launch in November and we can't wait. We couldn’t keep these exciting new stories to ourselves, so here’s a sneak peek at this exciting new batch of books:

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Man Up!

Authors: London, Riley, Shirelle

Illustrator: Joy Ingram

Story Coach: Barrett Smith

Aaron is outgoing and funny and a whiz at kickball. He’s also compassionate and kind, reading books at the old folks home down H street. Basically, he’s pretty great. But he’s got a problem: everyone calls him a Crybaby.

When his friends cheat at Forknife, he cries out of anger.
When he sees his friend Tayshawn hurt a neighborhood dog, he cries out of empathy.
And when misses his oldest brother, Sage, who’s away at college, he cries out of loneliness. 
His dad, his friends, and his classmates tell him to “Leave that crying for the girls.”

How can Aaron learn to value his feelings and nurture his sensitivity in a world telling him to “Man up”?


Game of Pharaohs

Authors: Camal, Japan, Dameona

Illustrator: Tony White

Story Coach: Amy Sawyer

Camal, Japan, and Dameona are good kids, but struggling students. They’ve decided homework is pointless, and they’d rather just play their video game. One night when the kids refuse to stop playing, they are sucked into the world of The Pharaohs, where now they must complete challenges in their weakest subjects in school to make it out. Characters (and readers!) must solve hieroglyphic word puzzles, find their way through science-related mazes, and complete math mysteries on their path to earning their Pharaoh crowns and returning to the real world. Can they challenge themselves and learn to ask for help in time to make it out of the game?


Georgia in the Jungle: A story of grief and healing.

Authors: Jock, Jailah, Victoria, Jesse

Illustrator: India Valle

Story Coach: Marisa Kwaning

Georgia is having a hard time. A really hard time. Her best friend, Sienna, has passed away. She’s shutting down in school, ignoring texts from her friends, and won’t even eat her Chicken Alfredo (her favorite!) for dinner. Her mother knows she’s hurting and takes her to an overnight at the zoo to cheer her up. That night, the zoo animals visit her in a dream and talk to her about their experience with loss. Can these thoughtful animals help Georgia open up about her grief and start to find a path forward?

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Money Marcus

Authors: Talik, Aniyah, Dewan

Illustrator: Camryn Simms

Story Coach: Faith Campbell

Marcus isn’t the coolest kid in school. The other kids make fun of his old clothes and raggedy backpack, but at least he has one true friend, Taylor, who likes him for who he is. But when Marcus finds a winning lottery ticket on the ground on the last day of school, his whole world changes! Now, with a backpack full of money, everything is possible--and Marcus goes on the spending spree to show it: never-ending arcade games, all-day Chipotle, and all the best elementary school bling. Marcus’s classmates flock to him and shower him with praise, and he is feeling good, spending money on his “new friends.” In the meantime, Taylor is shrinking further and further away. Will Marcus get caught up in the world of money and fame or will he learn to stay true to himself and remember his real friend?