From Actor to Author, Aaron Braxton is Resetting the Bar!
Updated: Jun 30, 2018
For Immediate Release
May 16, 2018
(Los Angeles, CA) A.K.B. Communication announces JESSE and the CATERPILLAR WHO GOT ITS WINGS soars.
Do you believe you can fly? Aaron Braxton sure does and his new young adult novel, JESSE and the CATERPILLAR WHO GOT ITS WINGS proves it.
Jesse, an imaginative, socially awkward 5thgrader uses the magical shape shifting metamorphosis of caterpillars––from humble earthbound creatures, to graceful winged beauties––as a lesson for life, love, tragedy and healing.
Braxton, a former educator, is no stranger to social commentary regarding the trials and tribulations of diverse youth, growing up in poverty-stricken communities and experiencing self-doubt and transformation. He has won an International Gala Star and a NAACP Theatre Award for his one-man show DID YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK? which chronicles a substitute teacher’s journey through the bureaucracy of an urban classroom. “I used to take profound, often painful, physically and emotionally abusive and traumatic experiences from my past and make them a basis for inspiring my students,” he says. “I would tell them that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and that everything worth achieving is only accomplished through hard work and perseverance. That even through adversity, by directing their energies positively, rather than negatively, they undoubtedly would experience much more success in their lives.”
There have been many obstacles in Mr. Braxton’s journey. "I've been casted in several blockbuster movies like Minority Report and Stargate only to have my parts written out before filming. Both cases were devastating, but you keep it moving." In addition, his query letters to major publishers went unopened or returned. “It’s extremely difficult in the literary landscape for writers of color,” he says. “Most publishers do not accept unsolicited material or they want you to submit by industry referral. Well, if you don’t know anyone in the industry, how are you going to get referrals? It’s oxymoronic.”
Even though getting a publisher to take a chance on his manuscript proved to be tougher than writing the book itself, Braxton remained unfazed. “I knew I had a beautiful story of transformation and recognizing the greatness within. I firmly believed in its message and set out to read everything I could regarding the self-publishing world. Then I took inspiration from self-published authors like William Young, James Redfield and E.L. James. In addition, I came across an article in which Steve Harvey gave a speech to his “Family Feud,” audience where he said, “When you’re standing on the cliff of life, in order to be successful, you have to jump.”
“I read that statement and my spirit turned inside out. I started crying hysterically because I realized, that in essence, I had been saying that my students, but not fully embracing its message myself. The next day, I marched down to district headquarters, handed in my resignation for the following school year, and my new journey began.”
The story of Jesse has begun to resonate with readers both young and old. Hollywood film producer and director Tim Chey, wrote, “I read your book in one sitting and absolutely LOVE IT! The book is so pure. I even cried at the end.” Others have said, “It’s one of the most powerful young adult novels they’ve ever read…From the opening pages, I felt like I knew Jesse…It finds hope and goodness in a world that can appear exhausting and bleak.”
The book is written to represent the inner hopes, dreams and aspirations of kids of color who, all too often, do not see themselves fully actualized in print. “There a lot of books out there that tell amazing stories. Unfortunately, most of them don’t involve the complex minds of kids from diverse communities. I wanted to change that landscape in meaningful ways. So, I infused the novel with Academic Language and Educational Standards and gave those kids a voice and unique perspective on the world that’s different from what is usually stereotyped in urban communities. At the end of the day, I still want to be an example of my convictions…no matter what the obstacles.”
Hailing from Boston, MA, and growing up in Santa Rosa, CA, the former educator turned actor and writer, holds a BA degree from San Diego State University in Speech Communications and a MA degree in Education and Teaching from the University of Southern California. He now calls Los Angeles his home.
“When there’s greatness inside you, who says you can’t fly?”
For more information contact: Robert Levy, Talk of the Town PR-LA, 323-546-4598, 1Talkofthetownpr@gmail.com, or Aaron at: A.K.B. Communications,