Alvin Irby wears many hats. He is a stand-up comedian, a children’s book author, a former kindergarten teacher, the founder of Barbershop Books and, above all, a dynamo.
He speaks loudly, even when answering questions in a quiet office that’s been emptied by the snow. His nonprofit has put a curated list of 15 books — all picked by kids — in dozens of barbershops, in predominantly black neighborhoods, across the country. And that’s not counting the many barbers who have heard his story and done something similar on their own.
Irby, who just turned 33, says he’s hoping to help children of color identify as readers. That means, first and foremost, that reading should be fun. It also means kids need to see their lives and interests reflected in the stories they read.
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