Joziah Jason, a 10-year-old 5th grader, started a podcast to share his love of reading. Known as “R.E.A.D. Books with Joziah” (Read, Explore, Adore & Discuss), the Ypsilanti, Michigan, native offers book reviews and recommendations to his audience.
“Reading can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go,” Joziah stated in an interview with Michigan Live.
His father, Keith Jason, handles the editing process. Nothing makes Keith happier than watching his son, a lifelong reader, share this passion with others. Both father and son discussed the obstacles of social media when launching the podcast and have continued those conversations, including how to handle negative comments.
“You have to scroll past a lot of that and let it roll off your back,” Keith Jason says.
Joziah Jason has three episodes under his belt, holding a voice so impassioned for the written word. His goal is to share his love of reading to the wider community — Joziah and his dad visit the Yspilanti Library and Black Stone Bookstore for engaging in literary pursuits.
Joziah and the Read To the Barber Program
Joziah’s podcast origins began when he was 6 years old. He began participating in the Read To the Barber program at Fuller Cut, a local Ypsilanti barbershop. Through the program, children are incentivized to read books to barbers, and they receive a $2 discount for doing so. This valuable reading program gives many African American children the chance to see positive representation reflected in both their community and books.
Ryan Griffin and Alex Fuller were guests on Joziah’s recent podcast, in which they shared the origins of the Read to the Barber program. Ryan Griffin explained that this worthwhile program began in 2015, modeled after a program Griffin observed in Harlem.
“While cutting hair, I could be more productive with my time,” Fuller said on the podcast episode. “I needed to be more responsible in my community.”
Alex echoed Griffin’s sentiments. “When a child comes in and they see someone that looks like them, and can read about them, it’s wonderful. Our barbershop carries nothing but positive stories.”
Both Ryan and Alex applaud Joziah’s growth from Reading to the Barber participant to running a book podcast.
“You are a prime example of this going full circle,” Griffin declares.
Come R.E.A.D. with Joziah Jason!
Check out Joziah’s heartwarming interview with Ryan and Alex at R.E.A.D. Books with Joziah’s page. You’ll also listen to his most recent book reviews.
Joziah truly carries the torch for reading.