“I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 8-years-old!” visiting author, Crown Sheperd told a rug full of eager kindergartners at Banaadir Elementary.

After deciding which of the author’s two books Black Boy, Black Boy or Black Girl, Black Girl, they would read first, the kindergartners settled in. She opened the book and began to read, and do you know what happened? Those kindergartners read aloud along with her. Every single word. These books were clearly read often. “You guys are melting my heart!” She told them as they moved through the books together.

And not only was listening to the five and six year-olds tell her story wonderful, but the messages in the books were so empowering. Crown told them about her thirteen nephews and many nieces who are who she wrote the books about. “I want you to know you can be anything you want to be. Nothing can stop you if you are determined.” Both books feature children dreaming of who they can be, despite what were sometimes very big obstacles.

“And do you know what?  Teachers are the #1 superheroes. They teach you how to be anything. And you know what else? You can be a teacher, even as a kid.” A little girl leaned toward the author and hugged her legs.

“You made my heart soar.” Crown told them at the end of the reading.

Ms. Shannon, the kindergarten teacher who arranged the visit, shared with me, “I’m so proud of them. This is what it’s all about.”