It’s Because of the Kids I Write

April 29, 2017

McCollough School in GaryThis past Tuesday I had the pleasure of being a guest speaker to the young ladies attending Frankie McCullough in Gary Indiana. A k-8 school located on the city’s west side,  I was afforded the opportunity to talk with grades 5-8 about literacy, publishing,  and self-worth thanks to the Gary Literacy Coalition.  After reading passages from my books, the floor was opened up for questions.

The young ladies asked various questions from when was my first book released to how long does it take to write a book.  As I walked through the center of the aisle, a young lady raised her hand and asked, “Why do you write?”  Multiple inquiry’s  were made by the students however, this one in particular made me resurface and reflect on my reasoning for writing.  Responding to her, a smile immediately appeared on my face while stating the following, ” I write for you darling.  I place words in books because of the children I’ve come into contact with.  You are my pure reason for writing. Without you all writing for me has no pizzazz.  I tell your stories because I take pride in it.”  To my surprise, the young ladies all gave a round of applause.

At the end of the program, a lot of hugs were given and plenty of pictures were taken.  A very special thanks to  young ladies attending McCullough.  You made me remember what made me write my very first book close to twelve years ago in the first place.

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Gary Indiana Promotes Literacy

March 1, 2017

The rainy weather did not permit the citizens of Gary Indiana from attending the 2017 Black Author’s Voices “From Pen to Pages” Literacy  event yesterday evening. Presented by The Gary Literacy Coalition, Inc…A Methodist Hospital, Inc. Partnership, Shirley Thomas Board President of the GLC and Era C. Tyman the Coalitions Director hosted this platform at St. Timothy Community Church located on West 25th on the cities westside. Prior to the panel discussion, the forum was presented by prayer by Pastor Curtis Whittaker of the Progressive Community Church.

Attendees had the opportunity to address questions on traditional publishing, self publishing, storylines, and technology.  Honest answers and sound advice were provided by the following writers; Dr. Danita Johnson-Hughes author of The Unapologetic Woman, Imani Josey author of the Blazing Star, Sharon Mallory author of Drama Dollars and Dreams, Krissy Mosley author of Saltwater on my Knees, Tavetta Patterson author of Learning how to Love me, Modga Walker author of From Faith to Faith his Treasure, and Adra Young author of The Misfits.

Lasting for approximately two hours, the literary oriented discussion led by Natalie Ammons left the audience immensely inspired by the knowledge obtained by the six panelist. For more information on the Gary Literacy Coalition Inc., log on to

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Albert Breeden is Just one of the Many Amazing Talented Young Men Attending Detroit Public Schools

January 24, 2015

Albert and me

Being a teacher, we find ourselves privileged to educate great minds with pure souls. No matter what age, they come to us instilled with unique and divine spirits making our job as educators a pure delight. This year, I have the honor of teaching one of those notorious beings.

This past year of 2013, one of our community school churches hosted an annual essay contest. Based upon the importance of giving, I encouraged my entire class to enter. To my surprise, my current sixth grade student, Albert Breeden a child who has attended our school since kindergarten, was nominated the victor.

This studious young man who brings joy to our entire academic facility won not only for himself; he won holiday gifts for everyone in my entire classroom present this school day. Attending the church this particular morning to support him, I stood proudly as they called his name. Passing the other attendees present in the aisle of the pew, tears of joy fell down my face as I watched this young man receive acknowledgment from the church’s pastor for his outstanding achievement.

In just a few months, our journey as student and teacher will come to an end. This young man will indeed as a seventh grade student carry on his legacy as a young man from Detroit that all of his teachers will take a pride in knowing and educating.

The Village is Coming Together in Detroit

December 15, 2014

The Village

Wild! The year of 2014 has just about come to an end. As I reflect upon everything I learned this year, I must admit, the majority of my development personally came from outside resources not having a lot to do with the work I conduct within my classroom.
This forum in particular took place last Tuesday, is just one of the many I’m referring to. I along with other citizens residing from Detroit, were selected by Friends Schools in Detroit, a prominent organization supporting schools within the region, to serve as panel members.

Serving as experts on a topic impacting our country heavily, for approximately sixty minutes, we addressed the questions and concerns of our audience. “A Conversation on Empathy: Eliminating Bullying was the title. What made this topic on bullying even more interesting were the emphasis placed upon practices of the “Quaker Approach.”

Although the audience only consisted of eight to ten individuals, the questions presented for us to answer as panel members were, serious, relevant, and needed greatly to be addressed. Evolving from various backgrounds and from all walks of life, the panel presented solid and sound advice to the listening audience. Out of all the various answers and strategies that were presented that night, the one thing in common this panel placed emphasis on was simply to provide and give more love. The big lesson I received from serving on this panel is that humans have so much more in common than we actually think.

The Future Teachers are the Future

November 9, 2014

Future Teachers

Celebrating the fact that this past October made nineteen years for me in the educational arena, I sat back and reflected upon the good and bad of being in this profession. With excitement and sincere enthusiasm, I can honestly say that I still get a kick out of what I do for a living.

Meeting Dr. Vivian Johnson several weeks ago at a Detroit Public School Professional Development forum, she gave me the opportunity to come in and listen to some of the “creative writing” and poetry written by her students attending Mary Grove College pursuing degrees within the field of education.
Lasting for only two hours, it seemed as though our time together went by entirely too fast. As each one of these males and females brave enough to enter into this field deemed by society in my opinion as the “bottom of the totem pole” I said to myself, “they all have the light within to make it in this field. These few students at Mary Grove College have are going to change the lives of many children.”

After the last student presentation was completed, I had the opportunity to discuss the following; my writing style, why I became an author, and what I loved most about my job as a teacher. After questions were posed and addressed, I was given a round of applause for being in attendance. Leaving the Liberal Arts Building yesterday at Mary Grove College, I felt confident in knowing that “Future Teachers” are truly being produced and ready for the challenge of educating children.

Education for the Body Mind Spirit and Soul….The Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend in Michigan!

October 7, 2014

As an educator serving Detroit’s youth for 19 years, I’ve attended numerous amounts of workshops and seminars to prefect my craft. From curriculum building, to class room management, I’ve attended them all solely on the basis to help me achieve the desired results with my students. I’ve even went as far as self publishing two books and one e-book based upon today’s youth. I guess you can say that working with kids is my cup of tea.
The education that I received in order to become a teacher was beneficial. However, it could never compare to the education I received at the 2014 “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend.”

Upon arrival to the Palace of Auburns Hills in Michigan, I could feel the positive energy from every individual in the building. Men and women stood up swaying from left to right listening and singing the words of “Kool and the Gang’s Celebrate.” Iyanla Vanzant energetically walked around the perimeter of every seating section to get the crowd ready for Oprah’s appearance.

When Winfrey entered the stage, the immediate sounds of piercing screams began! Finally, after everyone had settled down, she started her magnificent weekend event off by saying, “thank you for being here tonight. You could’ve taken your money and spend it on anything else but you choose to be here with me despite of the fact that I am not singer.” Proceeding directly after her joke, “Lady O” touched upon some very serious subject matters that in the words of Iyanla Vanzant would require us to all to put our big girl panties on.

Addressing the importance of energy and the power behind our words. Everyone was provided a “techno bracelet” that lit up every-time emphasis were placed upon the words she and her special guest wanted us to think deeply about. There were moments that touched everyone so deeply that thousands of people laughed, cried, and screamed together in unison.

World renowned authors and speakers such as Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vanzant brought the house down literally and spiritually. What stood out with me the most this one special weekend of September 2014 was the simple sentence provided inside of the “Oprah’s the Life you Want Weekend” booklets. Written by Oprah herself the sentence stated the following, “Pay attention to the whispers. Thanks to this weekend, I will do exactly that and then some. I am so glad that I got an opportunity to participate in this life changing experience. I will treasure this one moment in time for the rest of my life. In just this one empowering weekend, I learned so much more than any school text book could’ve ever taught me.

Gail Perry Mason Provides a Vital Piece of Education to Detroit’s Youth

August 1, 2014

Gail and I 2014

Education is the most important accomplishment that any youngster will accomplish in their lifetime. Traditionally, reading, arithmetic, and social studies are what’s normally instructed in today’s class. Aware of this known fact, Financial Guru and Detroit Native Gail Perry Mason, decided to add the missing piece to the educational puzzle.

Nineteen years ago, she created the “Money Matters for Youth” camp series for Detroit’s youngsters. Annually, eager kids ranging from elementary through high school range receive a full week of Financial Literacy. Through various seminars, field based related trips, and hands on activities, Mason makes it her mission to ensure that the Detroit Youth receive a bountiful amount of knowledge as it relates to the value of a dollar.

Aware of the fact that the average cost of college is roughly around twenty-thousand dollars a year, school aged children who attend this annual camp get a jump start on preparation for college funding, and strategies on how to make their dollars work correctly for them. Parents residing within the south-east region of Michigan, if you missed the opportunity to get your children enrolled this year, I encourage you to get your kids involved in the “Money Matters for Youth” camp series in 2015.

Parents get Your Youngsters to Reading This Summer Now

July 10, 2014

adra and three books

Wild everyone. It looks like we are just about to head towards the midpoint of July. With saying that, I want to encourage parents over the summer to make sure their youngsters continue reading throughout the entirety of the season.

During the standard school year, the majority of what kids read is mandated. A plus to summer time is that youngsters have more flexibility in literary selections. Parents, this is the time of the year to really make reading fun for your youngsters. Tie a theme into their book selections. Schedule some read aloud times together. Allow them the opportunity to upload e-books and audio books on the internet. There are a lot of free e-books available on the internet just waiting to be read.

Allow them the chance to pick books of their interest. Make reading entertaining. Try dressing as the main characters within the storyline. Yes parents, these crazy tactics work for tweens as well. Remember reading just 30 minutes per day can increase fluency and comprehension levels. Parents what are you waiting for? Get your children involved with some great reads before the season once again comes to an end.

God Took his Rainbow Dr. Maya Angelou to the Clouds.

June 1, 2014


En route taking my class on a field trip just this past Wednesday, I received some very heart breaking news. Trying to keep my emotions together in front of my students, I could hardly believe what I had just heard. Marguerite Annie Johnson; known to the world as Maya Angelou had passed away at the age of 86.

Turning my head discreetly to wipe the tears from my eyes during the bus ride, I instantly smiled due to one of my personal historical moments in time. In August of 2013, Dr. Angelou served as a motivational speaker for the teachers employed with the Detroit Public School District. Applauding upon her arrival, she singed to us the song titled, “God put a Rainbow in the Clouds.” Her speech indeed encouraged us to start the school year off on the right track.

Any teacher this day feeling like a “nobody” definitely felt proud about their profession after her speech. Educators feeling weary, overworked, or defeated after hearing her talk to us left the Detroit Renaissance Center feeling optimistic and full of hope. Just the sound of her voice had the power to calm any storm. The meaning and message behind her powerful words could definitely make the sun come out and shine once again.

This day in August was indeed for me and many others a life changing moment. Although she is no longer with us, her accomplishments, poetry, amazing deeds, and guiding light will remain with us forever. On the twenty-eighth day of May this year of 2014, God took his rainbow to the clouds and she will be so greatly missed on this planet.

Adviser Annie Fox Provides Educators a Major tip for Reducing Anger Issues in Students

May 18, 2014

Annie Fox the Teen Expert

For most educators residing in North America, the 2014 school year is about to end. Often, this time of the year brings about transformation and not so good changes with students. For some reason or another, the upward fluctuation of their anxiety levels towards the end of the school year result to higher incidences of both physical and verbal confrontations.

Around this time of year educators begin to ask questions such as, “What in the world is going on?” Due to students acting out, it can also make the teacher ponder on what to do to assist with remedying this problem. Just this past Thursday on my radio segment of The Cooks and Books Show, I had the privilege of speaking with trusted online adviser for teens Author Annie Fox. Despite of her making me jealous due to providing the beautiful weather forecast in California, I gained a tremendous amount of insight on the issue of “Student Anger.”

From the upbringing of a student in regards to their normalcy, to the overwhelming incidences of students exhibiting inappropriate behavior, the valid points that Fox addressed hit the nail directly with the hammer. Agreeing that today’s youth should have the opportunity to address their issues and concerns or be trained appropriately to do so, what stuck out the most during the twenty-two minute interview with her was the one simple suggestion she provided on breathing. Her reasoning behind the suggested tip statistically states that taking five minutes or more per day to breathe prior to starting your day results to one reacting in a calmer fashion.

Guiding me briefly on the practice of breathing, and relaxation during the segment resulted to me having an “Aha Moment.” Perhaps allowing students to stand up and breathe for a few minutes daily prior to starting the school day off in the classroom may be exactly what they all need in order to have a productive day. I myself do plan on implementing the practice tomorrow morning with my youngsters. Although I hated to see our interview come to an end, I definitely plan on interviewing her in the nearer future. Fox’s latest book, Teaching Kids to be Good People may be found on her website at