One August day I was invited to the main branch of the Little Rock Public Library to read Uncle Jed’s Barbershop to 7 & 8 year olds during Storytime. Since school was not in session parents brought their children. After reading the story, the question and answer period was dominated by parents, who were fascinated with the historical aspects of the story. They shared their childhood memories about going to the barbershop. Some animatedly talked about relatives who were barbers.
But there was not one word from any of the children.
I really wanted to hear what the children thought since Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a book for children. No matter how long I waited, there was no comment from a child.
After all adults had exhausted their questions and shared their barber stories, I packed my bag to leave.
As I was going out the door, a little girl stopped me. She said, “I liked your story about Uncle Jed. I want to be a doctor when I grow up. But my grandmama keeps saying I’ll never be one. Now I know I can be a doctor.”
The emotions her comment generated in me are indescribable. I knew then I had achieved my goal in writing Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. I wanted to inspire children to dream big dreams for their lives and to believe that those dreams can come true.
But that day, this girl ended up inspiring me. As a result, I felt a bigger responsibility; to make sure as many students as possible heard the story of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop.
The Little Rock library visit was my very first appearance with Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. Since then I have travelled throughout the United States sharing Uncle Jed’s story. And countless children have read about Uncle Jed and his dream of owning a barbershop.
Year after year I receive letters from students telling me about their dreams and how hearing Uncle Jed’s story has convinced them that their dreams can come true. The letters come directly to me after school and event visits.
Letters and emails even arrive from students with which I have had no contact. They have found Uncle Jed’s Barbershop in their school library, their public library, or their teachers read it to them. An interesting aspect of the letters is that the students tell me their dreams, and they also share who tells them they cannot achieve those dreams. Oftentimes, it is a close family member.
I am delighted that Uncle Jed’s Barbershop has inspired and continues to inspire children to dream great dreams for their lives, no matter how unattainable others think those dreams may be!
For further information about Uncle Jed’s Barbershop