Author inspired by Black History Month teaches value of reading to youth

Anthony Wilson Image
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Children in Durham learn value of reading, life skills
Cold rain made Durham's South Regional branch of the library a cozy spot for people gathered to hear author Demetries Green read from his memoir.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Saturday's cold rain made Durham County's South Regional branch of the library a cozy spot for people gathered to hear author Demetries Green read from his memoir, "The Tears I've Cried."

Green wrote about challenges he faced and overcame as the child of teenaged parents. He said he hopes the book inspires young people to conquer any uncertainty they may feel on their road to adulthood.

"What your beliefs are, and also identifying yourself as an individual. What makes you who you are, but also being able to understand your story," said Green.

Seven-year-old Emanuel Smith came with his uncle Jason Rutherford who, like Green, is a member of the Durham chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, Smith's already reading books on his own, including some about a popular superhero whose adventures also appeared on the big screen.

"Black Panther," said the boy with a smile, when asked about which books, he likes to read.

"And anytime he sees anything from Wakanda, or Black Panther, he'll 'Hey Uncle Jason! Let me show you this, or let me show you that,'" Rutherford said. "Or he drew one in school and brought it and showed it to me. It's up in my office."

Rutherford said reading's not the only activity he and his fraternity brothers arrange for children like his nephew.

"We teach them all sorts of life skills. Last weekend we were teaching them how to iron, how to fold, how to tie ties. Last week we taught them how to do a half Windsor. Next weekend they'll learn how do a full Windsor," he said. "It's important to know how to do your knots right."

The fraternity members used Zoom to help those who couldn't attend the event see and hear Green read from his book. That technology helped them experience the benefits of eye contact between the reader and the children hearing him read from his book.

"You draw that child in. You bring them into the story. You make the story alive for them," said Green. "It's that 'look at it from my experience' (connection), looking at it through two sets of eyes, and we can have two different experiences at the same time."