Jerald LeVon Hoover became the published author of a Young Adult (YA) title, one of a few books targeted toward young Black and Brown boys ages 12 and up, My Friend, My Hero. This novella has become a staple, as recommended reading in elementary through high schools across the country and around the world. That is a distinct honor Hoover shares with a short list of African American male YA authors including: Walter Dean Myers, Kevin Powell, Kwame Alexander, and Ralph Burgess.
My Friend, My Hero, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with a commemorative edition that includes an addendum of book discussion questions and now available; a full curriculum with a companion Student Success Guidebook, Teacher’s Guide, and Unit Assessments containing lesson plans. The goal is to promote Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in the classroom by providing strategies for students to make better choices and gain much needed confidence to support unleashing their inner greatness.
Hoover states, “Exposing Black and Brown children to a barrage of negative imagery and expecting their positive self-image to remain intact is ridiculous, insensitive, unjust, and unfair.”
Hoover then adds, “Young Black and Brown men are focused, gifted, driven, intelligent, and masterful at a host of other talents besides rap music and competitive sports; of which carries no shame, but we have other skill sets of significant influence. We are men of honor and integrity, regardless of whether we are born into poverty or wealth. But how can young Black and Brown men, or men of any race for that matter, define themselves and live up to their full potential if they only receive distorted representations?”
Hoover continues, “My Friend, My Hero is intended for all youth (races and genders), but I gave the spotlight to young, Black and Brown males because of the dire need for young Black and Brown men to have access to more positive representations of themselves to which they can relate.”
Celebrating 25 Years in Print, My Friend, My Hero, is the first in the acclaimed The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover. Other titles from The Hero Book Series are He Was My Hero, Too, A Hopeful Hero, and Hoop Hero. The novella took nine years to get published after forty rejections and sixty drafts.