Monday was the first day back from vacation for Boston Public Schools, but for 400 lucky students, the transition back to school wasn't so bad. It was magical.
By midmorning at Boston Public Library, an auditorium was filled and the students were dutifully answering Malcolm Mitchell's call.
"In order to succeed," he shouted, "you have to ..."
"Read!" the students yelled back in unison.
The energetic room was a good beginning for Malcolm's week-long book tour, which celebrates the second edition of his first children's book, "The Magician's Hat." The book is the first since he signed on with Scholastic Books this summer.
"The illustrations are vibrant, more eye-catching. Scholastic published the book which I’m super happy to be a part of their family. The text was added to make it a little more magical," Malcolm said. "We just took it to the next level, and being with Scholastic helped me achieve that."
While it is the same book, Malcolm said all of the changes, the deal with Scholastic and the tour make it feel brand new.
"It’s exciting because to me it is a new book because it’s a different stage of life, a different journey than where the first one began," he said. "The first one was phenomenal too but this next one is taking it a step up."
The students at Boston Public Library were able to take home a copy of "The Magician's Hat" one day before its official release and were treated to a magic show. Malcolm read the book to the excited group alongside Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and Mayor Marty Walsh even stopped by to hear what Malcolm had to say.
The week began at An Unlikely Story in Plainville and continued on to Boston, New York and Georgia. Being able to share the magic of reading with even more kids means a lot, Malcolm said.
"It means our mission is being spread. What we’re trying to achieve is being reciprocated by the community because it’s the Boston community that made it so the kids could take all those books home," Malcolm said. "I think there’s a lot of different things that today represents – community support, obviously literacy, getting books into the hands of kids. Overall, positivity of the message [is] that reading can change the world."
With Malcolm sitting out the 2017 season, he said he read even more to get him through the disappointment of his injury. While he would rather have been playing, Malcolm said his experiences help show the students he meets that reading can help them overcome adversity, whatever it may be.
"[Reading and photography] really helped me get through that tough time. That’s just the message I keep sending, that reading can help you get through stuff," Malcolm said. "Examples of when I’m hurt just happen to be the best way to explain that because that’s when I really need it the most."
You can learn more about the Read with Malcolm organization and the work he is doing here.