We caught up with some of the community’s rising stars and asked them to reflect on the books that had an impact on their lives. We’ve shared their responses below.

Michael W. Waters | Founder and Lead Pastor of Abundant Life A.M.E. Church

My favorite book of all time is Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was published in 1958. I am honored to own a signed copy of the book. The book is part autobiographical, part theology, part non-violent direction action strategy, and part civil rights history. It is an amazing book that I wish more people would read to discover the authentic Dr. King, not the caricature of Dr. King often promoted today. If you ever want to read in real time what it looks like for someone to walk into a purpose he or she has unknowingly been preparing for his or her entire life, this is the book. It is also amazing to consider what a group of people can accomplish together when they are unified in purpose and goal, This story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott provides an exquisite example. Read more>>

Devhour Games | Game Developers

The book “Masters of Doom” had quite a large impact on us. In fact, it was one the key factors that lead to us taking the leap into the world of videogame design. It chronicles the birth of Id Software, the developers that created the immensely popular “Doom” series, and through a series of dramatic events, showed that with enough commitment and determination, you can overcome just about any challenge. Read more>>

Brooklynd Turner | Artist + Muralist, Designer & Art Director

Two books that shaped my approach to understanding and creating art are Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience by G. Gabrielle Starr and The Feeling Brain: The Biology and Psychology of Emotions by Elizabeth Johnston & Leah Olson. I find comfort in reading books that explore and map Neurological Processes because it provides a compass for creative decision-making. Visual communication is a critical part of my job as an Illustrator, and I can’t always predict the perceptions or interpretations of my audience. I learned that most often- viewers do not know why certain works of art have a deep impact on their hearts. It feels ‘magic’ when the art conjures a feeling, and ‘bad’ if it misses the mark. When I try to ask why, often the reaction is it’s just a, ‘gut feeling’, which is challenging as the creator who wants feedback and to continue making impactful pieces. Read more>>

Shafarion Romashyn | Children’s Book Author

The book that i wrote has had a great impact on me and many others around me. During the pandemic with all the racial injustices I wanted to share my voice. I thought what better way than to write a book to begin to explore our differences that children can relate to. I have taught children from all over the world and the greatest gift that they all have is they are uniquely made. I wrote a book about my name and how it is different and when we begin to feel comfortable with ourselves others will respect our and value us. Read more>>

Danielle Flores | 5th grade ELA teacher & English Teacher For Texas Wesleyan Upward Bound Program

Recently I read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I was definitely late to the game as most of my friends read this long ago when it first came out. However, the timing of when I decided to read this was by far the key to the impact this book had on me. I was going through a divorce while also beginning my career as a teacher. I also have a teenager (yikes!) and a preteen, both of whom keep me extremely busy with sports and activities on top of going through these huge life changes. When I read the book, I really felt it was the ‘kick in the butt’ motivation I needed to realize I am my worst critic and that I’m actually doing a great job so I need to be more gracious with myself. My children are thriving, healthy, and happy. My career is thriving and I even received the award of “Rookie Teacher of the Year!” Often us moms are quick to focus on what we didn’t do whether it be something as small as we didn’t get to the dishes for the day or we did the laundry but let’s face it, it might take a day or two before we get around to actually putting it away. Read more>>