I Do It for the Kids!
How y'all holding up?! I hope my birth month is treating you well so far! :)
I wanted to wait until the beginning of April to send out the March newsletter, because I wanted to make sure I had the images that encapsulated this really amazing month. This month was ALL about introducing me to working with kids on a large scale, and I'm happy to say that it couldn't make me happier. They give me the energy and life I need to keep moving forward, and I'm so excited to move into more schools and organizations. Well, get ready for a TON of events listed below haha.
March really felt like a huge and long march, but unlike most marches this was ACTUALLY enjoyable! I started off the month volunteering my time presenting at the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County where I had the opportunity to read my book and field questions for the students. They were all so engaged and excited to meet a local author, and it felt amazing to share in that moment with them. To say that I was nervous, however, is an UNDERSTATEMENT. I'd never presented large-scale like that, but it was thankfully received extremely well by students and adults alike.
What followed afterwards was an amazing interview with Sharon "Lady Tea" Levy on her local Princeton TV talk-show that was SUCH a blast to do. She was an incredibly gracious host, and we had an amazing conversation. The conversation was primarily about: my journey, the importance of the arts, understanding how I got from Point A to literally cliff-diving to Point B, and why my book is so relevant in these times. We both were SO engrossed in the conversation that we forgot we were on TV at times! haha. It was really emotional conversation since we're both passionate about healing communities and addressing concepts of masculinity, so we just had a really great time. Being on TV was amazing, though I admittedly had NO idea what to do with my face during down times when I wasn't talking.. I really hope that my face didn't reflect that when it goes live! haha. As soon as that does, you all will be the first to know!
THEEEEEN I had the opportunity to meet with Bert Baron of WCTC 1450 AM! He is a wonderfully warm man who welcomed me openly into his studio to talk about my book and share it with the public. He even made the joke of "If you ever need an overweight, middle-aged superhero, let me know." I decided to take him up on the offer and follow through ;)
I then had the opportunity to connect with Tim and Nick of Tim 'n Nick's Picks podcast. My friend Joanna by coincidence ran into Nick on an Uber! She mentioned that I was an illustrator, and he told her that he ran a podcast about comics and general nerd culture! She gave him my info, and the rest is history! Both Tim and NIck were very welcoming, and it was a ton of fun to talk about my experiences and my journey with them.
LASTLYYYY, I had the chance to present at Pace Charter School. Presenting at Pace Charter School of Hamilton this past Friday was amazing! I wish I had video of this event, because the students were SO LIVE. LOL. The kids were fun, engaged and super invested in the story and my journey. And the teachers noted how difficult it can be to keep them engaged, but that my presentation was very entertaining, engaging and thoughtful. The teacher who hosted me offered to even write a testimonial for me!
The students bombarded me with thoughtful questions and rushed me at the end of the presentation for high fives, hugs, and autographs! They even demanded that I sing and do more voices after I performed my book in a variety of funny ways :) Many of them were even aspiring artists, so it was great to be able to reach back and let them know it's possible.
The event was particularly moving for me though as the classroom had a a majority of Black and Brown students, and I could visibly register how they could recognize themselves and how happy it made them. The story resonated with the kids regardless of their background, but it was especially interesting to note how several students asked if there was a character from their home country or ethnicity at the end of my presentation. Representation most definitely matters, and I'm glad to be doing this work of holding a mirror back up to the world.
If you or anyone you know has a school looking to hire an engaging children's book author to read and present to their students, please let me know! I love to do this work!
All in all, March was a stupendous month. This was my first time month ever presenting to students, and it came so naturally to me. I loved the energy of the kids that I worked with, and it's great to know that they were willing to return that love and energy right back. Sooo looking forward to more of this in April!
Until next time and lots of love to you all :)
Rashad M. Davis