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A melodic mantra with a powerful message: black boys can be a doctor, a judge, the president . . . anything they want to be!
A melodic mantra with a powerful message: black boys can be a doctor, a judge, the president . . . anything they want to be!
111 backers pledged $5,364 to help bring this project to life.
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“Black boy, black boy, what do you see?”

“I see a judge looking at me. He is fair, just like me.”


It started out as a mantra. 

Whenever I babysat or hung out with my nephews, I riffed on the childhood classic, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? In the midst of a conversation or even out of the blue, I’d stop and ask playfully, “Black boy, black boy, what do you see . . . ?”

It was a question and a challenge thrown down to the boys in my life.

Look into your future, I said, what do you want to be when you grow up? More importantly, what steps will you take to make that happen?

“Black boy, black boy, what do you see?”

“I see a president looking at me!”

My nephews loved the call-and-response structure. It felt like a game, but as an adult who loved them, I knew something more was happening. At a time when we still have to shout that black lives matter, I wanted to prompt the black boys who I loved to envision all the possibilities before them. I wanted them to picture a future of positivity and hope—one of pride in their own greatness and power.

Soon I wrote down my favorite responses from my nephews, and Black Boy, Black Boy was born.  

THE BOOK

This book taps into the magic of this mantra’s simple positive message: black boys can be a doctor, a judge, the president . . . anything they want to be!

Each page depicts a boy looking into the future, seeing his grown-up self and admiring the greatness reflected back at him. This book is created to teach black boys and the world that there are no barriers, and if you can dream it you can be it.

A BOOK FOR BLACK BOYS

After the birth of my nephews—five of whom are currently under the age of seven—I quickly noticed how few books with characters that looked like them were on the shelves of local bookstores and public libraries.

Honestly, I was stunned. Growing up I knew there weren’t a lot of books full of kids that looked like me, but with all the recent attention on the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement and similar initiatives, I mistakenly believed things were different now. Somehow, I imagined row upon row of bright, colorful books full of black characters—positive role models for the young boys I love so dearly.

Unfortunately, the truth is much different.

Only 7 percent of children’s books show characters of color, and only 2 percent of those books are made for black boys. 

As my nephews transitioned from pre-K into grade school, I noticed they stopped reading and engaging with books. And looking at those statistics, it’s not surprising why. Books aren’t made for them. They aren’t written by people who look like them. 

And there’s a big reason that needs to change. 

THE MISSION

As children approach 3rd grade—typically 8 or 9 years old—if they’ve failed to meet basic reading and writing standards, they’re often deemed “at-risk.” This means they’re often subject to “zero tolerance” discipline models—especially if those children are black, indigenous, or brown boys. It also means they’re included in the statistics the government tracks to determine how many beds they assume they’ll need in prisons. 

This is the big thing I want my book to change in the world—I want to encourage little black boys like my nephews to read! Reading is the most fundamental tool that people have. If you can read, you can learn! If you can learn, you can grow. If you grow, you can be anything!


I wrote this book for black boys so they can be excited to see themselves as the heroes of the story.

I wrote this book for black boys so the repetitive patterns can help them learn to read.

I wrote this book for black boys so it will become a subconscious mantra—the things you say to kids become what they think. And I want black boys to know they can be anything.

ABOUT THE CREATORS

I’m Crown, and Black Boy, Black Boy will be my first book of many! I’ve always been deeply rooted in literature and writing, but it wasn't until I found more writers that looked like me that my writing soared. Octavia Butler is one black female author who allowed me to dream and create by my standards, and from a point of view of a black protagonist. I hope my books will inspire other black writers in the same way.

I was intentional about hiring a black male artist and am lucky to collaborate with St. Paul native Mychal Baston.  Mychal Batson is a designer, illustrator, and writer from St. Paul, MN. Through his work, he aims to capture the vibrancy, uniqueness, and beauty of the black experience.  He recently created a comic book series about Frogtown in St. Paul.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

The story is written. The illustrations are in process. Now all that’s left is to raise the funds for printing.

The book will be a hardcover 9.5 x 8 full-color book. With the publishing costs of illustration, design, and printing, I need to raise $5,000 to bring this book to life. 

And that’s where you come in. I’ve put together special reward bundles for all pre-orders of Black Boy, Black Boy that help me bring this book to black boys everywhere. 

REWARDS

Along with being one of the first people to receive a signed copy of Black Boy, Black Boy, I’ve created an assortment of fun rewards to inspire reading!

Basic Reward Package:key chain, necklace, button, magnet, bookmarks and sticker packet.
Basic Reward Package:key chain, necklace, button, magnet, bookmarks and sticker packet.
Presidential Reward Package:The basic reward package, receive a backpack and a t-shirt of your choice.
Presidential Reward Package:The basic reward package, receive a backpack and a t-shirt of your choice.
Superhero Reward Package: Along with a signed copy of the book and the presidential rewards package, I’ll donate two copies of a book to underserved daycares in your honor, just in time for Black History month. Includes your very own black boy superhero cape—you’ve earned it!
Superhero Reward Package: Along with a signed copy of the book and the presidential rewards package, I’ll donate two copies of a book to underserved daycares in your honor, just in time for Black History month. Includes your very own black boy superhero cape—you’ve earned it!
The Creators Package: The Basic Reward, The Presidential, The superhero, Puzzle and Memory game
The Creators Package: The Basic Reward, The Presidential, The superhero, Puzzle and Memory game

Risks and challenges

Like any artistic endeavor, funding is one of the biggest challenges this book faces. However, that’s the biggest hurdle! I’ve partnered with a Twin Cities publisher, Beaver’s Pond Press, to ensure a smooth and professional publishing process—and a beautiful book.

I hope to have books printed in time for Black History Month in February, but if I run into any hiccups, I’ll keep all backers updated about timeline changes.

Thank you for believing in this book! Let’s show black boys to believe in themselves!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    "I see an engineer looking at me."

    Gratitude package!

    Receive a Black Boy key chain and a personalized thank-you letter.

    Includes:
    • Black Boy Key Chain
    • Personalized Thank-You Letter
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    "I see a judge looking at me."

    Book package!

    Along with a key chain, be one of the very first people to receive a signed copy of "Black Boy, Black Boy"!

    Includes:
    • Black Boy Key Chain
    • Signed Copy of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    "I see a doctor looking at me."

    Full basic reward package!

    Along with a signed copy of the book, receive a key chain, necklace, button, magnet, and sticker packet.

    Includes:
    • Black Boy Key Chain
    • Signed Copy of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
    • Ima Black Boy Necklace
    • Black Boy Button
    • Black Boy Magnet
    • Black Boy Sticker Packet
    • Black Boy Bookmark
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    2 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    "I see a President looking at me."

    Presidential reward package!

    Along with a signed copy of the book and the basic reward package, receive a backpack and a T-shirt of your choice,

    Includes:
    • Signed Copy of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
    • Ima Black Boy Necklace
    • Black Boy Button
    • Black Boy Key Chain
    • Black Boy Magnet
    • Black Boy Sticker Packet
    • Black Boy Bookmark
    • Black Boy Backpack
    • Black Boy T-Shirt
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    "I see a King looking at me."

    Superhero package!

    Along with a signed copy of the book and the presidential reward package, I'll donate two copies of a book to underserved daycares in your honor, just in time for Black History Month.

    Includes your very own Black Boy Superhero cape--you've earned it!

    Includes:
    • Signed Copy of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
    • Ima Black Boy Necklace
    • Black Boy Sticker Packet
    • Black Boy T-Shirt
    • Black Boy Magnet
    • Black Boy Key Chain
    • Black Boy Bookmark
    • Black Boy Button
    • Black Boy Backpack
    • 2 DONATED Copies of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
    • Black Boy Cape
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    $

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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    "I see an Artist looking at me."

    The Creators Package!

    Along with a signed copy of the book, the presidential reward package, and the superhero package, you'll receive a Black Boy puzzle and a Black Boy memory game!

    Includes:
    • Signed Copy of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
    • Black Boy Backpack
    • Black Boy Bookmark
    • Black Boy Button
    • Black Boy Cape
    • Black Boy Key Chain
    • Black Boy Magnet
    • 2 DONATED Copies of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
    • Black Boy Sticker Packet
    • Black Boy T-Shirt
    • Ima Black Boy Necklace
    • Black Boy Puzzle
    • Black Boy Memory Game
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $

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    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    "I see a teacher looking at me."

    Classroom package!

    Receive twenty signed copies of the book, including the full basic rewards package, for each student. The author will arrange a school visit (or Skype visit, if not a drivable distance) for a classroom of your choice!

    Includes:
    • 20 signed copies of "Black Boy, Black Boy"
    • Full Basic Reward Package for Each Student
    • School Visit
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)