How One Man Is Working To Inspire Young Boys Of Color To Become Avid Readers

"If you're not reading, you're power is limited."

In the 'hood, book lovers are hard to come by. But Alvin Irby is working to change that and inspiring young black boys to become avid readers.

Through his project Barbershop Books, the debut program from Harlem's Reading Holiday Project, Inc., Irby is attempting to raise reading engagement and literacy rates in Black communities, with a focus on boys.

"By creating child-friendly reading spaces like miniature libraries in barber shops, involving male role models in boys' early reading experiences, and connecting literacy to a community male-centered space, it's a movement to help young boys of color love reading — and be proud of it," states the 60 Second Docs description of Irby's work.



Irby won the 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize for the work he began in NYC, which is currently available across 22 cities in about 14 states, and he intends to take it national.

"So many young Black boys really don't identify as readers," he says in the doc. "And if you're not reading, your power is limited."

By placing curated books in front of a high percentage of boys who are raised by single mothers, Barbershop Books essentially incorporates positive male role models to help in his journey to inspire the children to become avid readers.  

"We're changing the culture in a good way," Irby says. "We believe that if we provide fun books, children will read, period."  

Check out more on Alvin Irby's Barbershop Books:

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