After a visit to Eye See Me Bookstore in St. Louis, MO, 11 year old Sidney Keys III was inspired to start his own reading club for boys called Books N Bros. Eye See Me Bookstore focuses on African-American children’s literature. His mother shot a video of him reading in the store, and expressing the joy he found in discovering books that reflected him. As she explained "Her son had never been to a store that housed so many books that reflected his culture." The video garnered a lot of attention and over 63,000 views. This made him realize that there were others out there who had the same interest. “ I already love to read but it would be awesome, even better, to read with other people,” he told Huffington Post.
Since September, the club has met monthly to discuss one book with a black protagonist, which they vote on. So far, the club has read Hidden Figures, The Supadupa Kid and A Song for Harlem: Scraps of Time, which they read during Black History Month. The group also invites Black male mentors to attend each meeting and share their experiences. With a simple $20 membership fee, the boys ages 8 through 12 get a book, a worksheet that ask questions about the work they're reading, and refreshments. Club members get to take home books for their personal collection, thanks to a donation of more than 250 books from community group, Serving with the Badge. Most important the group gets to read books, make friends and have fun. For Sidney this has given him an opportunity to develop his skills in leadership, public speaking and entrepreneurship. Hopefully, this will inspire more great ideas. In the future he hopes to expand online so that young men who do not live in St. Louis can join Books N Bros.