Authors to help Kids write books at April 20 Boys & Girls Club event

Kids will literally get to write their own stories at an April 20 event – and five local authors will be on hand to help them.

That day, all children through eighth grade are invited to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s first Book Bazaar, where they will choose a topic, write their story, decide on illustrations and print their publication. Helping kids navigate the writing process will be local authors Margaret Bernstein, David Lee Morgan, Nakeshia Nickerson, Afi-Odelia Scruggs and Michelle Person.

The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 20 at BGCC’s Broadway Club, 6114 Broadway Ave., Cleveland 44127. There is no cost to participate. Lunch and materials will be provided.

Those interested in participating can RSVP to .

“Reading and writing are fundamental to the success of our kids, and we believe telling your own story will be both beneficial and rewarding,” said Jazmine Walker, BGCC’s academic success manager.

Walker said after choosing a topic, kids will get help from the authors on plot, character development, setting, mood and story line. Several participants will be asked to share their stories, she said.

Walker said BGCC “very much appreciates the time the authors are taking to help with this project.”

Margaret Bernstein, the director of advocacy and community initiatives at WKYC Channel 3, is a devoted champion of literacy. She earned a 2016 Emmy for her #WeReadHere campaign at WKYC, which encourages parents to read every day with their children. She serves on the national board for Little Free Library. A Los Angeles native, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. She worked as a reporter, editor and columnist at The Plain Dealer from 1989 to 2013.

Bernstein is also the writer of “The Bond,” a memoir on fatherlessness by the famed Three Doctors. That experience led her to write a series of storybooks designed to tighten the bond between fathers and their young children. Her latest book in her “Dads Day” series is titled “Donuts With Dad.”

David Lee Morgan is a sportswriter, author, and high school English/Writing/Journalism teacher at Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio. He has worked at several newspapers, including the Warren Tribune-Chronicle, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Youngstown Vindicator, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and the Akron Beacon Journal. During his 15 years with the Beacon Journal, he covered high school sports, the University of Akron athletics, the 1997 Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Morgan also covered NBA star LeBron James extensively, from LeBron’s AAU participation in sixth grade through his high school playing career at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

Morgan is the author of six sports books, including the first biography of LeBron James titled “LeBron James: The Rise of a Star.” He has appeared on the ESPN program Outside the Lines, the 2008 documentary film More Than a Game, and the Disney XD series Becoming.

Nakeshia Nickerson is an author, community activist and entrepreneur; who writes sympathetic stories that helps school-age children learn positive coping, growth mindset, emotional intelligence and problem solving using real life scenarios. She penned many of her stories while studying Psychology at The Ohio State University.

She creates each story to be relatable, loving and supportive, and to become a bridge for family communication and bonding in sensitive times. “Gammie,” “Jackson Speaks (July 2019 release),” “To Mars and The Moon “(January 2020 release) and “You Can Tell Mom Anything” (July 2020 release) are inspired by Nakeshia’s own difficult experiences with loss, illness, bullying and abuse; allowing her the ability to truly connect with readers in what they may be experiencing.

Michelle Person is a passionate educator with almost 20 years of experience in urban education. While searching for books for her youngest daughter she was disappointed by her inability to find diverse, multicultural characters that her daughter, as well as the students she serves, could identify with, she began writing as a way to fill that void as well as capture the unique relationship between a father and his daughter. Michelle founded Just Like Me Books in response to that void. 

JLM is a multimedia production and development company that stresses the importance of literacy, culturally relevant reading material, and active learning experiences.  The mission is to promote a love of reading and increase literacy rates among high-risk readers through an interactive platform that prominently features characters of color.

Afi-Odelia Scruggs is an award-winning journalist and author. She has written three books: “Jump Rope Magic,” a picture book for children; “Claiming Kin: Confronting the History of an African-American Family,” a memoir exploring the emotional effects of her genealogical research; and “Beyond Stitch and Bitch: Reflections on Knitting and Life,” a collection of 11 essays.

She has also written for USA Today, The Washington Post and Cleveland Magazine. In 2017 and 2018, she was a finalist for the Cleveland Press Club’s Best Freelancer in Ohio