Simon B. Rhymin': Empowering Kids to Use Their Voices with a Fun Hip Hop Vibe (with video)
Updated: Jan 9
Title: Simon B. Rhymin’
Publisher: Little Brown Books Young Readers
Recommended Ages: 8-12
Where to order: Bookshop Here
Simon B. Rhymin is the debut novel from educator extraordinaire Dwayne Reed @teachmrreed - America's favorite rapping teacher. Mr.Reed, became a YouTube sensation after his Welcome to the 4th Grade video went viral.
I purchased a physical copy of the book, but after hearing a sample of the audio version, I bought it too. The audiobook is like a Hip Hop musical for kids. The combination of the story, the music, and the catchy rap lyrics will keep readers engaged and tapping their feet.
Simon B. Rhymin is about Simon Barnes, an 11-year-old who dreams of being a rapper that everyone calls NOTORIOUS D.O.G. But for now, he's just a Chicago 5th grader who's small for this age and afraid to use his voice. When his new teacher assigns the class an oral presentation on something that affects their community, Simon must face his fears in order to succeed.
A lot of kids will relate to Simon's down to earth personality and his struggles with self-doubt. Most people will also connect with Simon's journey of figuring out how to use his voice even when he's afraid. Watching Simon push past fears and teasing to discover the strength within himself will be empowering to all. While the story is very entertaining, it also tackles serious issues like homelessness and bullying.
I've been following Mr. Reed for a few years and have gotten a little peek into how he engages with his scholars (that's what he calls his students). As I read the book, I couldn't help but think that Simon's 5th grade teacher, Mr. James is based on the author himself. Like Mr. Reed, Mr. James is a rapping teacher who also calls his students "scholars". Mr. James is a cool, hip, engaging Black man whose mission is to empower his scholars and make sure that they feel seen and loved. Every scholar deserves a teacher like Mr. James, just as every scholar deserves a teacher like Mr. Reed. With Simon B. Rhymin, scholars get an opportunity to experience the magic that comes with having an amazing teacher who cares in and out of the classroom.
This one is a page turner and lots of fun to read. It's sure to become a favorite with a lot of middle grade readers.
About the Author: Dwayne Reed is America’s favorite rapping teacher from Chicago. In 2016, the music video for his hit song, “Welcome to the 4th Grade,” went viral and has since been viewed nearly two million times on YouTube. When he’s not writing, rapping, or teaching, Dwayne can be found presenting at educator conferences across the U.S., or loving on his beautiful wife, Simone.
As a viral sensation, Reed spreads his message of inspiration and empowerment that reaches a weekly audience of more than 50,000 followers, subscribers, readers, listeners, and fans. Each month, hundreds of new and aspiring teachers attend his engaging live seminars and rousing, interactive workshops, to experience the thrill of teaching.
As an avid philanthropist, Reed has partnered with other iconic brands that include 3M, Old Navy, and Arby’s to celebrate educators and raise awareness of youth issues. Mr. Reed also supports countless youth charities, after-school programs, and educational nonprofits dedicated to student-centered learning and academic achievement. Find him here: @teachmrreed
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