Children’s author and Kansas City, Missouri native Derrick Barnes grew up loving books. This HBCU graduate of Jackson State University was inspired by his mother and teachers to follow his dreams of writing. Little did Derrick Barnes know that his job at Hallmark Corporation as a junior copy write editor would open the door to producing multiple children’s books. Several of his books were created to be positive influences in young adult literature for African American Boys. They are not slavery or sports oriented like most of the books he read as a child. Barnes recalls one of his jobs working at the Kansas City Public Library as a community outreach specialist. He visited schools, community centers, retirement centers and prisons promoting literacy. Barnes’ stories show the relationship between music and literature, telling many young people that rap and spoken word is literature. Several of his books like Crown and I Am Every Good Thing are based on his four sons. A literacy advocate, Derrick Barnes encourages families to take advantage of your local library for free resources.