Kimberly Monroe wrote her first book, titled Homecoming in Tigerland, to give back to the university and shed light on the importance of reading as a child.
“It’s a work in progress, but I have stayed persistent and positive,” Monroe said. “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know my first one would be for children.”
The 2015 graduate of Grambling State University and a former editor of The Gramblinite newspaper has always had a passion for writing and storytelling. She felt that creating the children’s book was the most creative way she could give back to an institution that has taught her so much.
The purpose of the book is to expose and encourage children to learn more about college at a young age. The Lake Charles native also wanted to share the amazing history of Grambling State University, in the hopes children will choose GSU when it is time to pick a college.
“There are many facets of our university that will never change, and homecoming is one of them,” she said. “We have so much history that it often gets overlooked, and I wanted to combine the past and the present so that all Gramblinites can get a better appreciation for GSU.”
The writer said her ideas originated from being mindful of what Grambling State University’s alumni hold dear to their hearts.
The book is about a little boy named “Charlie P,” who is attending his first Grambling homecoming with his parents. He and his family journey around Grambling’s campus before the big game, and he learns about the school’s rich history.
It also mentions some of GSU’s homecoming favorites, including the homecoming parade, Miss Grambling and her royal court, the Eddie G. Robinson Museum, the G-Men football team, tailgating, the World Famed Tiger Marching Band and the talented cheerleaders and Orchesis dancers.
“I was inspired to write this book by Desmond Delk the author of I Love My SSU, a children’s book about Savannah State,” Monroe said. “I also learned that there are two others, about Morehouse College and Howard University. I then decided that Grambling deserved one as well.”
One of Monroe’s biggest challenges has been trying to complete the illustrations so that the book will be printed in time for homecoming 2015. It only took her a month to get the book’s storyline together, but it has taken up to six months to include illustrations.
The book is being published by Mascot Books. Monroe decided to go with this publishing company because they have published several other HBCU children’s books.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Kimberly on Homecoming in Tigerland, and we are happy to have her join the growing family of Mascot Books authors,” said Laura Carroll, senior project manager.
Carroll and Meghan Reynolds helped to edit the book’s script and served as production managers. They’ll also help with finalizing the book’s manuscript.
“The writing process was fairly easy,” Monroe said. “I knew the direction I wanted to go. I knew there were things like the Alma Mater, Fight Song and GSU chant that the book couldn’t be complete without.”
She is thoroughly excited about the book because she loved reading as a child. She explained that she is still an avid reader and wants to encourage the younger generation and stress the importance of literacy.
“My mother read to my siblings and me all the time growing up, so it has always been in my heart,” she said.
According to www.readingisfundumental.org, fewer than half of families read to their kindergarten-age children on a daily basis. The U.S. Department of Education also reported that since 2009 literacy rates for more than 50 percent of African American children in the fourth grade nationwide were below the basic skills level and far below average.
“People should purchase the book because it is bringing education back into the homes, classrooms, promotes college to children at a critical age and spreads the name of Grambling State University,” Monroe said.
The new author of Homecoming in Tigerland wants the Grambling family to get on board with her to not only give back to the university but to give back to the community and, most importantly, to children.
Follow Charlie P. and his family as they make their way to the Eddie G. Robinson Stadium for the big football game. With historical fun facts and eye-catching illustrations about GSU, this book is perfect for fans of all ages who love “Dear Old Grambling.”
To donate funds for the publishing of Homecoming in Tigerland, go to: www.gofundme.com/HCinTigerLand or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 337-377-7168.
Monroe said she plans to use the proceeds from the book sales for book scholarships for two students at Grambling State University.