You have found a place where excellence in children’s literature and diversity are the most important factors. Here you will find stories about Real Boys Growing Into Real Men…and the people who love them.

It’s here, advance reader copies of my debut Middle Grade novel – COURAGE


T’Shawn Rodgers lives on Chicago’s south side. He is rapidly approaching his thirteenth birthday, and the magic of finally being a real teenager. T, as his friends call him, wants to be a springboard diver more than anything.OK, T would like to see his best friend, Dontae, cured from the sickle cell disease that sometimes leaves him on the ground in agony. And he’d give almost anything for a birthday kiss from Carmela, the prettiest girl in school (if you don’t believe she is, ask her).But the first time he dives off the end of a springboard, he moves from wanting to impress Carmela to needing to experience that feeling of free flying as often as he can. The kid with no interest in sports suddenly dreams of becoming a medal winner. There could be Olympic gold in his future. His south-side of Chicago neighborhood might even throw a parade just for him.Diving lessons cost money. T’s mother is still paying off the medical bills from his father’s unsuccessful fight with cancer. She also has to send care packages to her other son, Lamont. Once, Lamont was T’s hero. Without his big brother, T might never have survived the pain of losing their father. But Lamont chose to join a gang and left a trail of violence on the streets before his arrest. His actions pulled T into danger, fear, and even more pain and loss.Before he can join the diving team, T learns that Lamont has been released from prison. Instead of a diving board, T’s birthday present becomes sharing a bedroom with his violent brother. He also has to find the courage to do the unthinkable, fighting his brother to protect what’s left of his family. 

COURAGE is defined as the ability to do something that frightens you, and displaying strength in the face of pain or grief. That word accurately describes all kids in this modern-day retelling of the prodigal son story, from the point of view of the good brother who stayed home. It takes courage to step up to a bad guy to protect what’s left of your family. And sometimes it takes even more courage to ask for forgiveness.

T also has to mount that springboard and dive his heart out.

For more on Courage, click here.

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