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Teens tackle issues of police brutality, racial justice in kids' books | Most DC Thing

Today's Most DC Thing comes to us from the creative mind of some area teens and the literacy program they are enrolled in.

WASHINGTON — Today’s Most DC Thing comes to us from the minds of a group of young authors who’ve written a collection of children’s books dealing with the incidents of police brutality we’ve seen this year. 

The young wordsmiths are enrolled in a literacy program run by two area nonprofits: Publisher Shout Mouse Press, and Reach Incorporated, a literacy program that accepts students from area public high schools like Anacostia, Ballou, Calvin Coolidge, and others, training them in tutoring second graders in reading. 

Noting that the 8-year-olds they work with also witnessed the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the teens took up the task of writing and illustrating works that would make the incidents more relatable and accessible to them. They also wanted the kids to be able to see themselves represented on the covers and pages of books they read.  

Meeting twice a week for five weeks in the summer, their books were published and released this month in a virtual Zoom event, which featured speakers from the Smithsonian and the Washington Post as well as narrated book previews from the National Book Foundation. 

What makes this a Most DC Thing is the spirit of activism and community these young people are showing. It's a spirit that we've seen a lot of here in recent months, and these kids followed right along with it, working to help make a difference. So the next time you see a group of teens hanging around, doing what they do, before you start grumbling to yourself about them making too much noise, remember that you could be looking at a group of published authors who gave themselves to helping our little ones sort through some tough issues.   

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