The death of a loved one can affect people in various ways, but for Mesa Community College men’s basketball player Malique Washington it inspired him to write a children’s book aimed at encouraging kids to “Be a Star!”
That’s the title of the book that grew from the relationship with his grandfather, James Kelson, a former principal at John R. Davis Elementary School and a 36-year educator.
Kelson had dreamed of writing a children’s book and Washington decided to finish that dream by writing it himself. Washington was in the process of writing another book, but put that project a side to honor Kelson’s dream.
The book is set in one of Kelson’s classrooms and features a young Malique as a student, “because he was so passionate about education,” said Washington. It is also in rhyme.
“My grandfather always felt that I was going to be something special,” the Mesa Community College sophomore said, “He dedicated his life to education.”
He always believed that with the right mindset every child could go on to become their own unique star.
The honors graduate from nearby McClintock High School takes that belief his grandfather had in him and translates it into a message for kids, “Every child has abilities that can one day change the world,” he added.
“I want to show kids they have that potential.” The book is aimed at children 4-8 years of age. Washington has saved his money and plans on self-publishing in the near future. Long-term, he hopes to find a publishing house to work with. He is also going to donate 20 percent of any earnings to charity.
The business major wants to become an entrepreneur and possibly even go into acting. However, in the short term he hopes to receive a scholarship to a four-year school to continue his education and basketball career.
“Coaches (Sam) Ballard and (Brad) Claypool have helped tremendously. It isn’t easy going the junior college route, but MCC has such rich history that it was an easy choice to come here.”