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“Keep trying again and follow your dreams” is the message Sammy D. Wallace III told The Black Wall Street Times for young children everywhere.
At only seven years old, Sammy published his first book, “I Slept In My Bed Last Night.” Then, on May 2, 2022, the rhyming children’s picture book was released to the public. On Thursday, June 16, he held a book signing and reading at Black-owned Fulton Street Books & Coffee.
The book is a humorous story detailing a boy who finally sleeps in his bed. However, while the young boy is sleeping, a mysterious monster wakes him from his dream. The beast gives the boy nightmares, but he is determined to figure out what the demon wants and unlock this mystery. The book is available on Amazon and a few selected stores.
Sammy goes from toddler to Black author
Originally from Oklahoma City, the Wallace family moved to Los Angeles, California, when Sammy was one years old. After COVID began, many schools, like Sammy’s pre-school, began closing.
Losing resources for education, Sammy’s grandmother became his teacher. For over 50 years, his grandma was a teacher, and she would teach him from his home. At five years old, Sammy would read and formulate stories, while his grandmother would transcribe them.
The inspiration for “I Slept In My Bed Last Night” came when Sammy could no longer sleep in his parents’ beds because his sister was born. Having to be a big boy, Sammy knew it was time to move on to his bed. So, for the first time, he slept alone and made a story out of it.
When thinking of words for the book, Sammy searched for rhyming words, as his grandma taught him. According to Sammy, “The best part of writing this book was spending time with my mother and GG (grandma).” Being forced to stay home due to COVID, prompted Sammy to step out of his comfort zone and explore new opportunities, such as writing.
Creating a book at seven years old
The book’s creation was a family effort, as the young, Black author’s mother helped illustrate. At five years old, Sammy started creating drawings for his mother. Then, as months passed, they would return to the book and work on it. At the start, the book only had six to seven pages, but as he got older and learned how to read, they returned to the book and added to it. Finally, when Sammy turned seven, they knew it was ready to be published.
They used the app Procreate to help make the photos. If Sammy writes another book, he will make the drawings himself on Procreate. Sammy made the book because he wanted to have “fun”; he enjoys writing for entertainment. Although he loves to write, Sammy does not envision this as a future career. When he gets older, Sammy wants to become an engineer.
When Sammy told his family about the book, they were overjoyed. The book has received much love and appreciation from parents who have read it to their children. The story resonates with many children as they experience nightmares at young ages.
Dr. Jim Granada stated on Amazon, “This is a delightful story that focuses on a child’s reality. It’s full of interesting vocabulary and cultural references. The illustrations are colorful and playful and reflect a child’s imagination. This would make a great read-aloud at bedtime or in a classroom.” The book serves as a reminder for young children to know that they are stronger than their fears.
However, creating the book was not always smooth-sailing for Sammy, as he stated, “I couldn’t find rhyming words, so it was a challenge.” Despite the obstacle, Sammy persevered and published his first-ever book at seven years old. He wants to motivate other children to write books and find their passion, saying, “I think more kids should write books…they just need to be encouraged and told that it’s possible.”