Support a new charity to help homeless and at-risk youth with the power of books!

I met a very nice man in a Panera yesterday when I was having lunch with my mom. The man was wearing a striking blue hoodie that said “READ OR ELSE” on it when I saw him walk through the door. The hoodie was hilarious to me, so on my way back from getting out food, I complimented him on it. A few minutes later, the man followed me to our table and told me what the hoodie meant. He explained he was a children’s writer and of course we dove into talking about our writing. Every purchase of one of these hoodies gives a book to a child in need. I went on their website later to find that not only do they give to homeless children and other children in need, but the book’s protagonist is a black male child, one of the most impressionable and most in danger in today’s society.

Ty Allen Jackson aka Panera Man (from

From the website:

There is a direct connection to illiteracy and many of the issues that negativity impact our society. Poverty, mass incarceration, unemployment, high dropout rates, teen pregnancy, poor health and more can be directly connected to illiteracy.
The Read Or Else Movement is shedding a light on this issue. Our objective is to create awareness and provide a solution to the problem. With the purchase of a Read Or Else garment a copy of Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire – The Lemonade Escapade, a children’s book that promotes financial literacy will be sent to a child in a designated homeless shelter or Title 1 school.

I don’t write a lot about social issues on here besides the environment and depression because it is too sad and too powerful to put into words sometimes, but I figured I would mention this on my blog to possibly make a difference. Reading was the very foundation of my youth. I would not be the person I am today without books. I would not have grown up to understand others’ struggles and accomplishments besides those of my immediate vicinity. I would not seek a desire to travel and learn as much as I can about the world. Books molded me into the adventure-seeking, loving, outspoken, and open-minded person I am today. It’s made me stronger. We must help the newest generation find a love for books and allow them to positively mold themselves because as it is said again and again, the children are our future.
Poor young black boys especially are at risk of entering the prison system, drug abuse, selling drugs, and simply existing may cost them their lives. For more information about the U.S. prison industrial complex and how it negatively affects the poor, black, male population, please read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (should be on everyone’s reading list) or watch Netflix’s 13th, now streaming.

Every photo has been taken from the website created by Big Head Books. I have not been paid or asked at all to promote this charity. I am only writing about it because I support it and believe in its power to help others. Please share with your friends. Both my mom and I are buying hoodies. 🙂