Kent State welcomes author James McBride


Credit: Steve Schirra

Author James McBride said that when he was writing his book The Color of Water, he didn’t expect anyone would read it – let alone an entire class of incoming Kent State freshmen.

But McBride, whose memoir was required reading for freshmen this semester, spoke to Kent State students and faculty yesterday evening in the Student Center Ballroom.

McBride said he didn’t write the book to teach any lessons; it just happened that way.

“I never had any audience in mind when I wrote it,” he said. “It’s a huge surprise that it’s being read like this.”

But reading the book as part of the university’s freshman orientation class is a good idea, McBride said, as long as it creates a common ground between students. The book should also be treated as a forum for ideas, not a reading assignment.

“It’s a good idea if the follow-up to the reading is healthy,” he said. “This is the place to be honest.”

Before the book was published, McBride said he brought it to his mother.

“She said, ‘It’s okay,'” McBride said.

His mother cared for him and his family so much that she was at first hesitant to let the world read their story.

McBride said that his mother is happy that other people can find strength and faith in the book. He hopes someday students at Kent State will be able to touch others as he has.

“You have already succeeded because you are here,” he said.

McBride also stressed the importance of education and social awareness in the world today.

But just because everyone in attendance was successful in his eyes, McBride did not hide the fact that the road to success is long.

“The trick is to enjoy the journey,” he said.

Contact news correspondent

Derrick Lenehan at [email protected] and news correspondent Zach Wilson at [email protected].