Actor Dwayne Clark, his 8-year-old son, DJ, and his 11-year-old daughter, Jada, have launched a series of children’s books that portrays life lessons from their family experiences to motivate young readers. Written from a child’s point of view, the three books – One on One from Dad to Son: Lessons in Basketball and Discipline; Me, My Mom, and My First Violin; and Christmas, Family, and Basketball From the Garden State to the Great Lakes are available on Amazon.
“There is a need for more books that portray African-American families in a positive way. It is not only beneficial for children of color, but for all kids who read the books,” says Dwayne.
Dwayne’s love of performing and his role as a youth motivational speaker inspired the books. He realized that his children’s experiences supported messages he was using at schools and workshops. By telling stories from a child’s point of view, he hopes the books will educate children about the effort required to foster a unique talent. The books also reinforce the importance of parents sharing their own experiences with their children.
One on One is the story of a father sharing his love of basketball with his son, DJ. DJ learns about the history and fundamentals of basketball while gaining the self-discipline that can help him succeed in all areas of his life.
“As a kid I played basketball. I worked hard at it. With repetition and coaching you get better. When I became a Broadway actor, the discipline I learned from basketball helped me tackle eight shows a week,” says Dwayne.
Me, My Mom, and My First Violin tells the story of how Jada’s artistic family supported and influenced her musical career, and the dedication and commitment it takes to be successful. In the book, Jada’s violin teacher Amy Beshara teaches her to take chances and develop self-confidence.
“Jada’s story is about how developing her skills playing violin helped her believe in herself and led to her winning a competition. All of the books in the series encourage children to follow their dreams and apply what they learn to achieve success for the rest of their lives,” says Dwayne.
Christmas, Family, and Basketball From the Garden State to the Great Lakes describes a road trip to their grandparents and the lessons learned as the children learn about their family history.
Future books in the Clark Family series will include their aunt’s beauty shop and how it became a neighborhood gathering spot, the empowerment of theater, expressing yourself as a singer and more. The books are available on Amazon and ClarkFamilyBooks.com.
Dwayne’s performances on Broadway include The Color Purple, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, Rent and Tarzan the Musical. He appeared on Broadway and internationally in Smokey Joe’s Café. Dwayne performed with the New York City Opera and internationally as Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess. Dwayne and his wife, Janeece Freeman Clark, met during the Broadway production of Urinetown. Janeece leads the musical theatre department at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She also co-founded the Vanguard Theater Company, where she serves as Artistic Director. The Clark family lives in South Orange, New Jersey.