Shout Mouse Press: Telling Untold Stories
Mariah is blind. She runs a fruit stand – with a little help from her parrot, Blue.
She is the star of “Mariah Finds A Way,” a book from DC’s Shout Mouse Press.
“(Mariah) overcomes (her blindness) by using her other senses,” said one of the book’s authors, Darrin Gladman. “There was a Santa Claus dude who was stealing fruit and the bird went to the police.”
Shout Mouse Press is a “writing program and publishing house with a mission to make unheard voices heard.” Working with other nonprofits in DC and Haiti, executive director Kathy Crutcher and her colleagues coach minority children to write, publish and promote their own stories.
Darrin, 15, said writing children’s books has made him more creative.
“I discovered a sense of accomplishment and relief,” he said.
Many Shout Mouse Press authors are also tutors for another DC non-profit, Reach Incorporated. Reach pairs struggling teen readers with elementary-age children who are below grade level readers.
Several years ago, the older students went to Reach executive director Mark Hecker with a problem: Very few of the books portrayed people of color like themselves. “We can write books better than these,” they told him.
“I bet you can,” he responded.
Hecker approached his friend and fellow Duke University classmate, Crutcher. She had a decade of experience mentoring young writers, so she was prepared for the challenge.
“Can we make this happen?” Hecker asked.
And, thus, Shout Mouse Press was born. (Next)