In 1978, I walked into the local library in Vacaville, California, and came across a woman accompanied by her nine-year-old son whose name, I learned, was Addax. She asked him to go pick a book from the children section. “No!” He sassed his mother. “They’re all for white kids.” “There are plenty of cartoon books,” said his mother, who told me her name was I’Esha, “and there are plenty of dinosaur books. I know you like dinosaur books.”

My curiosity got the better of me so I went to the children’s section and Addax was right. I went to Toys R Us and there wasn’t anything there for a little black boy to identify with so that night, at age 16, I was going to change the world and make things right. I wrote a fantasy/fiction novel and named it, The African Boy named Addax. And to this day, I dedicate this book series to him and his mother who inspired me to help change the way people view the world. And to my best friend, Spike (RIP).