My husband and I are proud parents. Our son, Jeremiah J. Barnes, has written his first book called, My Family’s Trip to the Smoky Mountains. The official release date is February 20, 2019, which is also his 8th birthday. Before I get into more of the details, let me explain how this all came to be.
Last year, both of my twin sons were struggling in writing. As a writer, this bothered me. They were barely earning a Bs in writing. I know that doesn’t sound bad, but my husband and I received quite a few phone calls about them refusing to write, leaving the room during writing, crumpling up and even tossing writing assignments over their heads. We had enough. We decided to have them practice writing at home so we could help them through the writing process in hopes they would take these skills back to school.
We had them write about their day, write short blog posts for our urban gardening website, and we asked them to write about our spring break. Last year, we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for spring break. Jerry wrote about it, and it was good. What was even more amusing to my husband and I is how our child described our behavior during the trip.
After I explained how good the story was, Jerry replied, “I wish it could be a real book that I could hold in my hand.” We ended up connecting with a local publisher, VK Press and went through the process of making this a reality. We learned a lot about the publishing process such as obtaining the copyright, ISBN number, registering with the Library of Congress, and book design to name a few aspects. The reality took forever to Jerry, and he wrote about that on his website, Barnes Brothers Books. The reason this website is called Barnes Brothers Books is because his brother, James, will be releasing a book later this year. Currently, James is in the editing phase of his manuscript.
As a parent, I am bursting with joy, and as an educator, I know representation matters. We need more black authors and we need more books with black people on the pages. Since I’m a librarian, I had to look up the book on the system just to see it there. I can’t wait to add a copy to my school’s library. How many books have you read about a black family going on vacation? Think about it this way, how many books have you seen about visiting different places with people of color on the pages? That’s why I am adamant that representation matters.
The extra cool part about Jerry’s book is that we all ended up with our names on the cover. Jerry and James asked to take cameras on our trip to Gatlinburg. To make sure we had all of the events covered that he wrote about, we all contributed our photographs to the book; now the entire family is listed as photographers on the cover.
Here is how you can support my son. You can follow him on Twitter @BarnesBrosBooks and visit his website www.BarnesBrothersBooks.com. You can also pre-order a hardcover copy of the book from the publisher. We are still working out the details of the book release party. When I have them, of course, I share them.