When Betty K. Bynum and her 20-year-old son Joshua Drummond co-wrote their new book I’m A Brilliant Little Black Boy, they knew it would have an impact, but they didn’t know it would impact a group of celebrities.
Dreamtitle Publishing, publishers of I’m A Pretty Little Black Girl, is releasing I’m A Brilliant Little Black Boy. The book helps fill a void of black boys as characters in children’s books. With praise from actors Samuel L. Jackson and Denzel Washington and director John Singleton, I’m A Brilliant Little Black Boy has the potential to shape a generation of impressionable minds.
“The story provides positive, constructive tools to assist with self-esteem issues and also aids in building strong examples of identity,” Pauletta and Denzel Washington said of the book. “The story is easy to follow, holds interest and cleverly follows a lesson plan that is achievable for success.”
I’m A Brilliant Little Black Boy follows the story of Joshua, a curious little boy who magically taps into his budding intellectual aptitude and innate creativity with the help of community members. “He wants to do a lot of things,” Drummond said. “At first, he’s not very confident with himself. But throughout the course of the book, he starts to discover different talents he never knew he had and do all kinds of amazing things.”
Drummond, a college freshman majoring in theater, crafted the storyline between his studies. “Many brilliant black boys were never encouraged as children,” he said. “If they never had that support growing up, never had someone by their side in their growth process, it has a direct effect on their self-esteem and what they feel they can achieve.
“At the beginning of the book, he doesn’t know his true self. But as the story progresses, he starts to try different things that builds confidence in his abilities,” Drummond said.
Little Joshua starts to blossom with the help of his community, expressing interest in painting, astrology and hip-hop. The book’s intention is to increase character-building by presenting Joshua with moral dilemmas. “It’s really the beginning of his journey in becoming a successful young black man,” Drummond said. “So there are instances where he’s in certain situations that require him to think about whether it’s for the greater good or for selfish reasons. The other characters in the story — his teachers, parents, friends, people in his community — all play an important role in that process. He wouldn’t be able to reach his goals without the support that he gets from his community.”
“The beautiful thing about what Joshua [Drummond] and Betty [Bynum] have done is that they have created a storytelling expression of love that will help young black boys on the path to being confident men,” Singleton said.
Added Jackson: “This book title is the perfect answer to peer group smart-shaming.”
Bynum inspired her son’s first foray into publishing to develop both his creativity and his entrepreneurial skills. Bynum oversaw the art direction, production and development of the project. The illustrations are by Brian McGee. The book’s storyline stems from Drummond’s reflections on cartoons from his childhood and the dearth of black characters.
“I would watch Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon,” Drummond recalled. “Every once in a while there would be that one black character within the friend group. But there was never a whole group of young black kids for the cartoons in particular.
“As a black teenager, I’m aware of how race and inequality has re-emerged as part of the national conversation. And I wanted to bring some positivity to the table and some light to the world.”
The result is I’m A Brilliant Little Black Boy, a story of self-discovery and purpose.