Master Barber Antonio Brown joins Tombolo Books tomorrow

Tomorrow at 7 p.m., master barber Antonio Brown of Central Station Barber Shop & Grooming will join Tombolo Books for a barbershop-themed event.

BY NICOLE SLAUGHTER GRAHAM, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — On Thursday, May 27, local master barber Antonio Brown of Central Station Barber Shop & Grooming will join Tombolo Books for a barbershop-themed event.

Brown will be in conversation with author John Dillard and illustrator Akeem Roberts. The event will center on Dillard’s first book series entitled “J.D. and the Great Barber Battle!”

 The middle-grade series focuses on protagonist J.D., who deals with some bullying after receiving a terrible haircut from his mother. He discovers he has a talent for cutting and garners some serious attention in the neighborhood, including that of the local barber who seeks to shut J.D.’s budding business down.

Given the theme of Dillard’s series, Tombolo children’s book buyer wrote a proposal for the event with Brown in mind.

“We were thrilled when Antonio said he would be willing to participate,” said Tombolo Books events coordinator Kelsey Jagneaux.

The bookstore regularly partners with local literary supporters and organizations, including the African American Heritage Association, which presents a monthly “Community Conversations” that centers around a topic of local history and interest.

For this event, Jagneaux said Brown, well-known for starting the Barbershop Book Club, was a perfect fit. Every Wednesday from 4-6 p.m., Brown hosts the Barbershop Book Club, inviting kids to come in and pick out a book to read. During that time, he offers free haircuts to any of the children who choose to read.

He told The Weekly Challenger in a previous article that the barbershop provides a safe space where reading and learning are encouraged and rewarded. The book club has become so popular that it has caught on in eight additional local barbershops

“We are most excited to be partnering with an incredible community leader and neighbor like Antonio,” she said. “His work through the Barbershop Book Club and commitment to literacy is something we are also incredibly passionate about and happy to support in any way we can.”

The event is free and will be held virtually on Thursday at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can register on Tombolo Books’ events page. “J.D. and the Great Barber Battle” is a children’s book best suited for ages 6-8. Copies of the book can be purchased in-store at Tombolo Books or on the store’s website.

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