Conway’s Jamille Rogers Thomas, media specialist at Marguerite Vann Elementary, has just released her first children’s book focused on the life of a young African-American male baby boomer.
The book titled, “Be Kind. Be Brave. Be a Hero,” explores the character's strong family values, manages to overcome negative integration and bullying experiences, according to a news release.
“[Jamille] has worked to build a diverse collection of interest to teachers, students and families,” the release states. “As the founder and director of the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club in Conway, [Arkansas], she knows firsthand the impact literature can have on the lives of young males.”
By seeking out books that are of interest to children now, Thomas hopes to shrink the achievement gap between boys and girls.
The Arkansas author will be doing a book signing at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Faulkner County Library.
Thomas was the first person from Arkansas to be recognized by the American Library Association for her professional efforts in the Conway School District in 2016.
“It [was] kind of a big deal because it [was] the first time that Arkansas has received the award,” she told the Log Cabin Democrat in December 2016. “It wasn’t just a big deal for Conway, it was a big deal for Arkansas too.”
Thomas was invited to New York City where she received a $5,000 prize during an award ceremony and reception held on Nov. 30.
The American Library Association said in a news release that Thomas was selected for the award for providing programs and services at the school — such as the Distinguished Gentleman’s Club and the Arkansas Foster Grandparent Program — that focus on underserved students in the community.
Thomas told the LCD the association, which received more than 1,000 nominations from across the country, looked for media centers that were innovative and also have a connection to the community.
She has been recognized by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, presented an Arkansas House of Representatives citation for her service and has been featured in the School Library Journal as a local hero “committees to furthering equity in schools and community through literacy,” the release states.
In addition, Thomas was also a special guest at the 2018 Texas Library Association State Conference.
“With her book, ‘Be Kind. Be Brave. Be a Hero,’ she is able to spread her message of hope and inspire her readers to overcome adversity through kindness,” according to the release.
The book is available online at www.JRTandMore.com.