It’s never too early to start exploring college. And in a children’s picture book titled Donovan’s College Adventure, Southfield dad Jahquan Hawkins aims to bring this lesson to life for little kids ages 3-7.
Hawkins is an ideal author for the job, too: Besides being a father to a young boy himself, he’s also a college success coach and student services dean at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills.
“Donovan’s College Adventure is designed to expose young children to the world of higher education from the lens of 5-year-old Donovan Mack,” he explains.
A big, bright future
The book centers on Donovan’s dinner table conversation with his mom and dad. Earlier that day in school, his teacher had told his class all about college.
His parents quickly discover that Donovan is extremely geeked about the future options available to him – from career paths to different types and sizes of colleges to opportunities to travel, join clubs and play sports.
Donovan’s College Adventure is a simple story designed to spark conversation. And it’s a conversation Hawkins feels needs to start when kids are young – especially based on his work in the community college realm.
“I often encounter students who have no idea what to expect once they land on a college campus,” he explains.
“I think it’s incumbent upon community stakeholders to share as much information, as early as possible, when it comes to the personal and academic success of our youth. ”
For Hawkins, the book also has personal ties. You can spot his family name on the university illustration on the cover. And the young protagonist of the story shares his young son’s first name – plus his dad’s last name, Mack.
“Donovan certainly has my dad’s outgoing personality, and it’s reflected in this book as well,” says Hawkins, who was born and raised in Detroit.
At the end of the book, the fictional Donovan – who wears a bright red “Future World Changer” T-shirt – shares seven “cool kid tips” with readers to get them in a learning growth mindset.
Hawkins shares three of them that stand out to him:
- Respect your teachers.
- If you don’t understand something in class, ask questions.
- You don’t have to be perfect to be great.
“Ultimately, I just want kids to be able to connect education to their respective life goals,” Hawkins adds. “I want them to know that college is a fun, dynamic and inspiring place that helps open doors to their dreams.”
Get the book
Donovan’s College Adventure is available on Amazon for $12.99. It’s geared at kids ages 3-7. For older kids, check out Hawkins’ book Finding My Way: A Practical Guide to College Success, which is $19.99 and offers students tools and strategies to survive and thrive in college.