Bowie State University and Howard University alum Tariq Touré has a lot to say. From growing up in West Baltimore, to being Muslim, writer and award-winning poet Tariq Touré has plenty of experiences to fuel his creativity. Yet although he has crafted an accomplished career from his many inspirations, he found one topic in particular to be missing.
As a father, Tariq always looks to pour valuable knowledge into his children. But recently, he found there was a lack of resources to help explain to children the significance of the black dollar. Although black buying power is often overlooked, its presence has a significant economic impact within communities of color and beyond. It took four years, but Tariq has crafted a book conceptualizing group economics that’s actually fun for kids to read!
In “David’s Dollar,” young David Kareem is a Muslim kid who’s just earned a dollar for his allowance. Like other kids, he wants to spend his money on candy. But after he does, he begins to think more big-picture. “Daddy, where did my dollar go?” David asks of his father. That question leads David and his father along a journey throughout their community that over time explains how the spent dollar makes its way to other businesses.
Children who read David’s Dollar are being prepared for critical thinking skills in areas such as drawing conclusions, making inferences, and making predictions. We asked Tariq how his higher education at HBCUs has shaped the way he looks at the world.
“Being a graduate of two HBCUs shaped my experience in two pivotal ways. The first was that it surrounded me with other students who were from similar backgrounds who wanted to make a significant change in the world. So many of my classmates have been an inspiration and support for this work. It also built a stronger ideal of community that existed beyond where we were physically at. I learned that HBCUs are a global community.”
With such an important accomplishment, we wondered how far this dedicated HBCU alum went to create a book that would serve his community for years to come.
“I had no idea how difficult it was to get children’s work published. This book has been in the works for 4 years. My first major obstacle was ensuring that my illustrator Anika Sabree was paid properly for her work, which turned out excellent. It took months to work up the courage to do a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the illustration cost. Then the campaign was completed in 48 hours. I knew we had something powerful on our hands. After then we moved carefully in building the world inside of David’s Dollar and now can get the book out to everyone possible.”
David’s Dollar even sold out at one point, and Tariq hasn’t stopped his grind. He also manages his company Pen > Sword, which celebrates the power of literature with merchandise like sweaters, shirts, and hoodies. to build capital to expand into stationery. In 2021, he has plans to launch a full high-quality paper journal line!
Tariq’s success obviously hasn’t been a smooth road. Since he was twice an HBCU student, the writer gave eye-opening advice for current HBCU students facing obstacles like he has.
“I think what sets us back is not exploring our innate talents. A lot of times we set out to be successful at whatever another large group of our peers are successful at. I’ve always been inherently attracted to language arts, and anytime I departed from that I ended up wasting my time and losing out on opportunities. The more I decided to master what I already loved to do it opened doors. If we want to reach a destination we have to use what God gave us for free before anything else.”
Now that it is out, we asked David what has made him the most proud of his accomplishment.
“The proudest moment of my career has been watching my 6 year old daughter read David’s Dollar to her 4 year old and one year old brother and sister the day it arrived,” he said.
You can find more information on Tariq Touré and his impactful book at the official David’s Dollar website.