Books N Bros | St. Louis Public Radio

Books N Bros

Jeffrey and Pamela Blair pose for a portrait at EyeSee Me.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At a bookstore in University City, young people of color can crack open a book and see themselves as doctors, superheroes, historical figures and even princesses.

Jeffrey and Pamela Blair are the co-owners of the EyeSeeMe African American Children’s Bookstore. Jeffrey said he knew there was a need for the store long before they opened their doors in 2015. As they were homeschooling their children, Jeffrey said it was a challenge to find books and educational resources that were reflective of their children and their own experiences.

Jeffrey Blair, co-owner of Eyeseeme African American Children's Bookstore.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Eyeseeme African American Children’s Bookstore in University City became an internet sensation by association thanks to a visit to the store by Sidney Keys III and his mother, Winnie Caldwell. About a year and a half ago, she posted a video of him reading a book in the store that went viral. He was inspired by his visit to start Books N Bros book club, which caught the attention of CNN (which recognized him as a “Young Wonder” as part of the 11th annual CNN Heroes), Steve Harvey, Oprah Winfrey and many others.

Winnie Caldwell and Sidney Keys III
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

Sidney Keys III, 11, has had quite a month. On December 13, he and his mother, Winnie Caldwell, flew to California where he appeared on “The Steve Harvey Show.” Two days later he was featured on CNN’s “Young Wonders” program in a segment that had been recorded weeks earlier. On December 17, he appeared on a live CNN special in New York City honoring CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2017.