Las Vegas valley principal gifts 4th, 5th-grade students book in effort to promote diversity

Posted at 2:24 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-05 16:32:40-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Books offer a glimpse into an unknown world and one book, in particular, is taking students on a musical journey.

The journey was so important, Christie McKenzie, the principal at William K. Moore Elementary made sure all 4th and 5th-grade students at the school received a copy.

Most of the students at the school are Latino or African American. McKenzie says having books with characters that look like them can help kids imagine a life they may not see otherwise.

"Oftentimes, with books they don’t see themselves in, they don’t get excited about them. But books that they can be like, 'Oh my god this is me, I can do it.' It becomes a page-turner," McKenzie said.

The man behind the book is Antwan "Amadeus" Thompson, now a multi-platinum producer with a series of accomplishments under his belt including record producer, tour drummer and working with artists like Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber. But his latest venture as an author is using his own personal story to inspire kids to reach for the stars, regardless of where they come from.

The book takes kids on a journey through his life and covers everything from getting his first drum set as a toddler, to perfecting his craft. It also covers his musical influences and his drive to become successful.

"It's really phenomenal," Amadeus said. "I know where in different parts but it's all the same. We all have challenges, rough neighborhoods, gangs. Negativity surrounds the entire world. So to come from where they’ve come from to be so relatable, to feel and look just like them, I feel was one of the things that inspired them the most."

This book is just one part of Principal McKenzie's plan to create an environment where students can dream big and achieve.

"It's empowering and they’re fighting for something now," McKenzie said.

More than 200 students at William K. Moore Elementary received copies of the book to take home.

For a link to the book visit iamkingamadeus.com.