Battle Creek’s Timothy Allen and Alanna McCreary write children’s book

Alanna McCreary’s love for books began at a very young age.

Trips to Willard Library in Battle Creek with her father, Timothy Allen, are among her fondest childhood memories. But the moments also serve as a source of motivation.

McCreary, a Black woman, often struggled as a child to find book characters that looked like her, characters she could identify with. Teaming up with her father, the 2009 Battle Creek Central graduate is changing the narrative by co-writing “The Do Righters,” a children’s book promoting diversity, equity and inclusion while also encouraging kids to be safe, respectful and responsible.

“I think the (tipping point) for us was just realizing that there was a need for kids to feel like they could open up a book and see themselves,” McCreary said.

The Do Righters book is shown.

The 36-page book, published in late 2019, draws inspiration from Allen’s 30-year career in education. He currently serves as a social worker for Jackson Public Schools, but previously was the principal of Battle Creek’s LaMora Park Elementary and the former Wilson Academy.

“Of course, in all the districts that I work in, we’re dealing with so many issues of trauma, so many different issues of inequities, and so what we wanted to do is say, ‘All kids can learn, all kids can have fun in school, all kids can enjoy having a safe learning environment, ‘”Allen said.

Timothy Allen and Alanna McCreary participate in a book signing for their children's book

The book features a number of Allen’s personal sayings, a song he wrote exclusively for the project, as well as several social emotional learning activities meant to engage students, parents and teachers.

The book’s main character, Malik, leads readers through a day in the life at the “Do Right Academy,” outlining how to be safe, respectful and responsible while also demonstrating how students can overcome their mistakes.

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