When the NAACP of Greater Norristown posted a kids book recommendation written by a local author and educator about a local barbershop, I clicked. And what I learned and who I was introduced to made me click Follow!
Tre Hadrick, wrote a book called Cheesesteaks and Clippers about a barber in my hometown, Norristown, PA! Typically, that would not be enough for me to follow a Facebook page, but there was something about Tre Had (his FB handle), and I just had to know more about him.
He is a school counselor at a middle school here in Norristown, his hometown, my hometown, the setting of the book. This is impactful and important work, but Tre does not stop there.
On his Facebook page, followers can learn about education in the United States. Most recently his posts are about literacy, its importance and ways schools can do better by children. And as a former English teacher, I was drawn to his posts about literacy and socio-emotional education.
He also hosts “Ed Talks.” Using Facebook Live, Tre speaks with other community leaders about education and educational equality.
Tre has created a wonderful brand for himself, posting engaging articles, local news and uplifting messages. Each of his posts have the emojis:
I will admit, I spent too many minutes trying to figure it out. Peace Be Fly. But if you were to ask him about it, he will tell you: Live in peace. Be humble. Fly high.
He is now one of three people I have never met in real life that I follow on Facebook. I read his articles. I think about his posts. They are provocative, thoughtful and research supported!
All of this because the NAACP highlighted his book. So in case you missed that book review. Here’s mine.
His book Cheesesteaks and Clippers is a self published book that started off as a challenge by his coworkers.
Now that may seem weird, your colleagues challenge you to write a book... and you accept. But if you know Tre Had, it is not. At that time he had already done a Ted X Talk. He teaches classes at Villanova and is a community leader, as the founder of Men of Excellence in Norristown, PA. The fact that he hadn’t written a book is more shocking than the fact that he just accepted a challenge to write one.
Taking his childhood memories of his barbershop, Tre created a story with his son as the main character, Ernesto. Tre said “I wanted to see his name in print” because to Tre, literacy is the biggest civil rights issue of our day.
In the book, young Ernesto is sitting in the barber shop waiting for his turn. The book chronicles all he sees and learns. By the time it is finally Ernesto’s turn, the book is over.
What captured my attention initially about this book were two things that were not even important, a barber that eats cheesesteaks and a young boy’s hair cut.
You see, what Ernesto learns, from his community, the barber shop and its men, is what is important.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when a young man walks into the barber shop and greets every single person in the barber shop. During our conversation, Tre mentioned that was an unspoken rule of the barber shop. You walk in and greet each other, show each other respect. And young Ernesto was there learning this lesson.
Cheesesteaks and Clippers has sold 1,000 copies! In fact, 5 copies of his books were purchased by a local woman (who has never met Tre. That is how good of a brand he has created). She donated one book to each of the 5 local elementary schools’ libraries.
You can purchase this book on Amazon!