Please Sir, Can I Read Some More

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About Kalimah Priforce

"Kalimah Priforce is a madman on a mission to transform children's lives as co-founder at Qeyno Labs---which works with local schools and partners to make "career day" an everyday experience for the millions of students that cannot afford private college and career guidance. He is also an educator-in-residence for the Oakland-based "Hidden Genius Project", a program that trains black male youth in entrepreneurial thinking, software development, and user experience design. He can be reached at @priforce on twitter."


  1. Kalimah, thank you so very much for telling us your story. After reading it, I immediately went and showed it to my mother, a high school special education teacher, who will probably send it to all the teachers at her school. I, for one, feel amazed and inspired.
    As a French major in school, I groaned at the prospect of having to teach schoolchildren, so I pursued a career as a freelance translator instead. But your article, coupled with a recent experience in tutoring, has made me reconsider the education field. :-)

  2. Tom Matlack says:

    What an awesome, inspiring story Kalimah. Thank you for sharing it here. You made my day.

  3. Kalimah,
    Your story brought tears to my eyes and chills to my spine. It is the most moving thing I’ve read in a long time. I wonder how many other kids there are “in the system” who, like you, are starved for books. Here’s to ongoing efforts to feed young minds.

  4. Love! <3 You are a brave person! Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Wow. This is a great, great story. Sorta makes me want to re-evaluate how I spent my youth. Very inspiring! =)

  6. Brilliant story, Kalimah. Now, if only a hunger strike could help address awful BET programming…

  7. That brought tears to my eyes. I grew up very very isolated as an only child living in the country. Books were my escapism and my only friends. (Reading also made me virtually un-groundable because it doesn’t make sense to take away books as a punishment).

    I wonder if the people who donated those books will ever know they had such a big impact.

  8. Damion Trent says:

    This is a great story your fight for the right to read more books coincides and is analogous to that of Fredrick Douglass’ battle to learn to read and write. This reminds us that we all have a lot of work to do to become as extraordinary as you are in your innovative ability and quest to educate kids in a manner befitting their interest and learning styles. It should be the goal of all of us to help children receive the type of education, which enables them to achieve their fullest potential. Thank you brother for this inspiring story.

  9. Kalimah,

    I had no idea this was your history–the story brought tears to my eyes and gives me a new appreciation of how far you’ve come. What an amazing child you were, and amazing man you’ve become!

  10. As a 3rd generation life-long lover of books your story made me cry. What bravery and heroism from both you and that administrator.

  11. great story – thx for sharing :)

  12. Pretty much the best thing I’ve heard all year.

    When I was a kid, I read through all the books deemed appropriate for my age group at school, and demanded access to the books for the ‘older students’ in the library. Up until that point, I’d been reading picture books, kids books. I wanted ‘real books’. I wanted long stories, autobiographies, encyclopedias… all the things that a 7 year old at my school wasn’t allowed access to until they were 9 or 10. I was a very fast reader, I’d been reading adult sized novels at home and getting through them in 2 days, understanding every word. I got several detentions for trying to sneak in, or just outright walking in and taking the books I wanted to read. I was poor, my parents couldn’t afford my book habit, and there wasn’t a public library anywhere near my house or the school.

    Eventually, my frequent crimes of trying to learn landed me with a letter home to my parents, which resulted in my dad marching right up to the school and yelling at the headmaster. As he put it, the school is there for me to learn. Why in the hell would you deny a child that wants to learn?

  13. This is awe-inspiring! I really didn’t know how blessed I had been in my parents – our house contained, conservatively, 25,000 books (including paperbacks). I also had access to a great library system in my hometown.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story Kalimah – it brought tears to my eyes and made me think of all of those other kids out there who don’t have access to great books. I have put your “Please Sir, can I read some more” phrase up on my bulletin board to remind me every day of what we are fighting for.

  15. Now there’s a good and powerful story that needs to be shared with lots of people who, unfortunately, probably won’t read it and certainly won’t comment on it. Having someone want to learn so much that they’re willing to die for the cause… that touches me in ways I can’t express. Thank you for this tale; love it.

  16. Wow… amazing story. I worked for the city and remember coming to CBCC to shut it down. You are an awesome and amazing person who had enough ambition and smarts to pull yourself through the cracks of the system ! God Bless you !


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