"I dream in color:" 412th TEC Soldier targets underprivileged youth with new book
March 10, 2012
From an early age, Capt. Jarvis Buchanan knew that he wanted to be a writer.
The 412th Theater Engineer Command's mobilization officer recently fulfilled his childhood dream with aspirations of helping today's youth.
Buchanan authored and self published his first book titled "I Dream in Color" about a fictional character named Jackson, who struggles with growing up in a less fortunate home.
Jackson is a fifth grader preparing for the new school year, and he's embarrassed by the clothes he has to wear.
He falls asleep and meets Henry Flipper, the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point. In the dream, Jackson spends three days with Flipper, and sees firsthand the challenges Flipper endured at the academy.
Witnessing what Flipper went through makes Jackson realize that there's more to life than material items like fancy clothes.
"The inspiration for the book came from a desire to help impressionable children that are falling behind, specifically minorities," said Buchanan.
The book uses modern slang terms kids commonly use, and in one chapter Jackson teaches Flipper the latest dance craze called the "dougie."
"If we can mix the new lingo with some of the past history, then we can grab some attention," said Buchanan.
Buchanan read "I dream in color" to students at Bates Elementary School in Jackson on March 2, as the school participated in Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day.
After the reading, Buchanan signed autographs and answered questions about being a Soldier, and an author.
"This is just my way of reaching kids," said the native of Houston, Miss. "It's not about me, it's about the message."
Buchanan said he plans to write more 'I dream in color' books using other historical figures to teach kids different life lessons through Jackson's adventures.
"I want to show kids that it's okay to dream of being firemen, police officers, or Soldiers," said the Army Reserve engineer officer. "Not just rappers or basketball players."