Arts + Culture

KC children’s author presents a more positive image of African-American boys

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Three years ago, Derrick Barnes introduced the world to a smart, sassy little African-American girl named Ruby, the star of his children’s book series called “Ruby and the Booker Boys.”

In Ruby Marigold Booker, the father of three sons gave life to the daughter he never had.

But boys were never far from the local author’s mind. Neither was what he considers a dearth of books for and about young African-Americans like his school-age sons.

So his next project was all boy.

In “We Could Be Brothers,” published last month, Barnes explores the influence of male role models through the friendship between two 13-year-old African-American boys — one who has a father and one who does not.