by Michael D. McCarty

Story Summary

Michael McCarty has a poem about the importance of reading, storytelling and what he learned from his mother.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who inspires you?
  2. What can be said in rhyme that isn’t expressed in a narrative?


  • Story Smart: Using the Science of Story to Persuade, Influence, Inspire and Teach by Kendall Haven


  • African American/Africans
  • Education and Life Lessons
  • Family and Childhood

Full Transcript
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When I was a boy my mama told me,

I could be anything I wanted to be.

Reading to her the mind was the key

To make my dreams a reality.

She said as long as I kept my head in a book,

It didn’t matter what direction life took.

More than beauty, wealth, and fame,

Knowledge is the key to the power game.

My mama, gave me the knowledge I would need

And in my mind, she planted the seed.

She nurtured that seed with a mother’s love

And prayers for guidance from powers above.

As I grew to be a man, there were times of my life

Full of hardship, I’m talking buku strife.

But in those times of difficulty,

I never forgot the things that my mama told me.

There was a time a few years ago,

I was confused about where my life would go.

Around this time I just found out,

What storytelling was all about.

I’d heard stories from Peninnah Schram, Joel ben Izzy,

Sybil Desta, Elle Erato, and Leslie Perry.

Listening to these folks inspired me,

I said, “A storyteller! That’s what I’m gonna be.”

Was I committed telling tales, took off like a rocket,

Now I’m living by my mama, have mouth, will run it.

Hope this little tale inspires you,

To make a go at something you really want to do.

Thanks for listening. It’s been slammin’

We’ve been getting down, oh, we’ve been jammin’.