Beta Readers Needed

James Johnson
December 26, 2020

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa which means we should be practicing Umoja (Unity)!

I am looking for a critique partner (or beta reader) for a 73-page children’s book. Beta readers offer positive and constructive feedback to writers. After many edits I need a fresh set of eyes from readers who aren’t necessarily familiar with my work and can offer constructive feedback.

For your services, I am willing to exchange a critique (or beta reading) of your book/project or provide you a copy of my published book at 60% of the selling price.

The title of the book is Jamal and Me: Freedom Summer. A work of fiction, broadly and loosely based upon the events of Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964.

Eight-year-old Jamal from Minneapolis is a jellybean counting whiz kid and wins the school jellybean guessing contest. The story is told through the eyes of his ten-year-old brother Jordan. Their Grandma Lynn wished that Jamal would have been around when her Mother was in Mississippi and was never able to vote because she couldn’t guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. Jamal wished he could have lived during that time too to help his Great Grandmother, Ma’ dear. Well, his dream comes true with the help of a tiny and beautiful butterfly lady, Queen Azina. Azina magically sends Jamal, Jordan and their German shepherd dog Pharaoh back in time to 1964 Mississippi. Join Jamal and Jordan as they visit the Mississippi Delta as Freedom riders.

Taglines: Voter suppression, voter registration, civil rights, voting rights, Freedom Summer, Separate and unequal, democracy.

Jamal and Me excerpt: Once we got out of the cotton field there was a tall and strong looking Black man wearing overalls and no shirt, cutting another man’s hair. There were many Black folks and White folks milling around a large house-like building. A Black woman stood there shuffling her feet, almost like a robot obsessively sweeping the dirt over and over.  The man looked and looked at us as if he was trying to recognize who we were.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, tie that dog up. Tie him up. Colored folk don’t take too kindly to German shepherd dogs down here in the Delta. They aren’t friendly to us and we ain’t friendly to them. I think you know what I mean. You two freedom riders?” the man asked.


I am looking for Mothers. Fathers, children, teens, Grandparents and singles for feedback. Read along with children and gauge their response. I will provide the questions for your feedback. You will have two weeks to read and respond.


If interested, please contact me via email at This beta reader solicitation will close after the first 5-10 volunteers contact me or January 9th   2021, which ever one comes first.