By Karen Gordon

VERY TIME @SayWhatScooter spends time with his cousin Jamil, they come up with a new “thing.” First, there was the boiled peanuts which they sold for a spell at the Saturday Market. Next, was a brief stint with slime. #CousinsPeanutsAndSlime has an interesting ring to it (not to be confused with Jones BBQ and Foot Massage). Another idea was their customized spa experience, complete with soothing music and lighting, courtesy of Alexa.

Most recently, they’ve talked about starting their own book club so I’m putting together a starter kit, of sorts. I’ve been looking for books  they would enjoy reading AND enjoy discussing with friends – kinda like they discuss Fortnite and NBA 2K19 right now. I started with the mountain of books that we already have here at home. No such luck finding anything that’s compelling to 10-year olds. But luckily, I had a recent case of “PRIMENESIA” just in time for the holidays and found several authors whose work we’ll be checking out in the near future.

Inspired by Marley Dias, 13-year old author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!, and brains behind the #1000blackgirlbooks, we sought books written by African-American authors. We sought books about young people with whom Scoot can identify. As he fancies himself an athlete, Scoot started with Jason Reynolds Track Series.

But this is just the beginning . We are well on our way to implementing the CousinsBookClub – replete with books to inspire young and young at heart, written by and about people who share our cultural experience. Scoot, Jamil and I (ok, confession, it’s just me at this point) aspire to share these books at places where young boys and girls of color can go to be uplifted, encouraged and connected. Barber shops, beauty salons and after-school programs.

The Scoot and I literally started today, after I cajoled him into putting down the video game for a sec, and then again after I took away his device privileges indefinitely, because he was trying to be slick.. and THEN AGAIN, after I threatened his life.. and Daddy’s… and both of the dogs.

Once we got past the initial misunderstanding, The Scoot continued reading with no intervention needed. He even told me that he wanted to read to the puppy – the cute, precocious, toothy Sister Rosa T Beard Gordon Parks Thomas.

Sure, why not?! Instead, I find them (15 minutes later) on the sofa… wrestling.

Mommy: Hey, I thought I told you to do something constructive.

@SayWhatScooter: I’m reading to RosaT.

Mommy: But I don’t hear you saying anything. Dogs can’t read your mind.

@SayWhatScooter: It was high frequency.. that’s how you read in dog language. And so it goes.

(Note: This article is dedicated to the immediate and extended family of Camron Robinson, the 14-year old Hornsby Middle School student who was shot and killed. May we all seek and find true peace and understanding).

Karen Gordon is a singer, songwriter and the founder of Garden City Jazz. She works with the City of Augusta to present the Candlelight Jazz Concert Series each year and has partnered with RCBOE to develop interactive courses such as Taking Notes: Jazz & The American Story and Jazz4Kids.

This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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