The need for diverse literature inspired Clamentia Hall Jr. to publish a book that encourages self-worth and self-assurance by highlighting the potential that lies within boys of color. As an under-represented community within the world of children's literature, boys with brown skin deserve to see themselves in the books they read.
“Brown Boy Dreams” written by Hall and illustrated by Ana Latese, who specializes in characters of color, will expand the reader's realm of possibilities. Being a kindergarten teacher at South Pointe Scholars Charter Academy, Hall reads so many picture books every day and identified a gap that he could contribute to closing.
For Hall, a key motivating factor behind writing the book was awareness of the school-to-prison pipeline, a national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. “We're seeing these patterns, but why would students want to read all these books that they don't see themselves represented in? This is my contribution to help that,” Hall shared.
There was a brown boy,
and he had big dreams!
How big do you think his dreams could be?
Perhaps we'll see.
The book features the journey of a young boy imagining all the things he could become and believing he has the power to make it happen. “Our strongest habits, our morals, and our deepest understandings are established during early development,” explained Hall. “‘Brown Boy Dreams’ can be used as a developmental tool for normalizing greatness in the Black community.”
The scarcity of high-quality, authentic, diverse, and multicultural literature in the classroom weighed heavily on Hall’s heart. “It is crucial for boys with brown skin to see themselves represented in the literature they are consuming,” he said. “It's important that Black boys know that there are books out there that are perfect for them to read to.”
Having a difficult classroom in his first year of teaching inspired him to put pen to paper and kickstart his book-publishing career. Hall’s book, “New Teacher's Guide to Classroom Management: 10 Actionable Strategies for Promoting Desired Behavior in Students,” was published in 2018 and serves as a resource for fellow educators.
Now having his second book published, “Brown Boy Dreams” is specifically for boys with brown skin, however, Hall sees this as a book with a universal message for all children.
"Brown Boy Dreams" was released on Oct. 1, 2020, and can be purchased on Amazon.