TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 2020 high school grad is already an accomplished author and illustrator of five children’s books, and now he’s got the novel idea to inspire Black children to love reading and writing, too.
Davon Miller credits his love of reading to his mom, Sandra, who began reading to him before he was born. As a child, he loved creating his own characters, and wrote his first book at age 11. He published the first in his series of five books, centered around the character “Mr. Tickety Toc Clock” in 2014.
But, he says, his life story was always missing an important page: many authors didn’t look like him.
“Looking back on that, I never knew any author of color,” Davon says, pointing out that many Black authors of children’s books aren’t represented by major publishing companies.
He’s trying to “write” that wrong, and promote the work of African-American authors, while encouraging young people to write, or draw, their own stories.
Davon created a non-profit, called Picture Novels. Then, he launched the 2020 Imagine Children Stories initiative, as a way to support Black authors, and inspire children to channel their mixed emotions about the Black Lives Matter movement, and the pandemic. He’s encouraging 2,020 children to write and illustrate their own stories, and hopes to raise at least one dollar for each story. With those donations, Davon wants to purchase at least 2,020 books, written by authors of color, to be donated to local elementary schools.
He hopes that his own personal story of finding success as an author will inspire other children to explore writing, too.
“If someone sees someone else of a young age, or someone that looks like them, they’ll be encouraged as well,” says Davon.
2020 Imagine Children Stories has gained the support of St. Petersburg City Council member Deborah Figgs-Sanders, as well as local bookstore, Cultured Books, which have helped Davon raise $900 so far.
In addition to asking children to participate in the campaign, Davon is also hosting book giveaways, for students who interact with him on his Facebook page. He’s doing his first giveaway of books to those kids on Saturday, August 24, at Cultured Books.
To learn more about Davon, his #Imagine2020ChildrenStories initiative, and to donate to the campaign, check out his Facebook page or his website.