'I can read so I can lead': Philly 2nd-grader becomes author

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) -- "You see this right here? No bullying, be kind, and have fun," said Asil Greer while reading one of his favorite books.

It wasn't the classic "Green Eggs and Ham" or "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." This particular book had Asil's name on the front cover.

"Reading is my superpower," he continued reading from the colorful pages.

Asil, 7, is a 2nd-grade student at Lotus Academy in Philadelphia. When he's not studying his fractions and times tables, he's busy writing his own books and encouraging other children to become educated.

"I can read so I can lead," Asil repeated throughout the morning. That motto has come to adorn t-shirts, backpacks, and the very book that the young student penned himself.

However, another name graces the cover of Asil's first book. His older brother, Andre Chaney, is credited as the illustrator.

"When you see that a child has that fire under them to do a specific thing, like Asil loves to read, you want to continue to put wood to the flame," said Andre, 22, a professional artist.

Asil, Andre, and their mother, Kwaminah Greer, work together to bring literacy skills to local youth. They give away free books and often host reading sessions with Asil's classmates. Outside their home stands an orange box labeled, "Sidewalk Library," where children can freely take a book home to read.

"If we aren't instilling that fundamental principle within our children, within our brothers, are we causing more harm and damage to their growth and development?" asked Andre.

Despite the age difference, Asil and Andre appear to be best friends.

"You look back to when you were maybe 6 and 7, you should do the same thing if you would've wanted it for yourself," Andre said.

His mission seems to be paying off. Asil will be receiving an award later this month for outstanding leadership at The Founder's 5th Annual Black Gala. As a kindergartner, Asil placed third in an oratorical competition among 3rd and 4th-graders.

"I came up with this coloring book so they can inspire themselves to teach other children to read in order to lead," Asil said.

The dynamic-brother-duo is slated to publish a second book in the near future.

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