By Taylor Peters with contributions by Kate Smigelski
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
Spreading inspiration to schools across the nation, Robby Novak, better known as Kid President, toured South this Wednesday, while on his first book tour.
English teacher Nicholas Provenzano has been in contact with Novak’s manager and brother-in-law Brad Montague ever since they met in San Francisco at YouTube’s offices during a YouTube education program. When the book released on Tuesday, Provenzano received an email asking if South wanted Kid President to perform.
Although Provenzano wanted Novak at South, he realized the program was more beneficial towards elementary students, thus offering the guest speaker to appear at Trombly. Novak did stop by South, however, for a tour and a private lunch in Cleminson Hall.
Eleven year old Novak, with help from Montague, released their first book, “Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome”. This book teaches kids how to make the world a better place for themselves and others.
Novak’s fame started as videos of him that were aimlessly taken by Montague. These videos spread through their small town in Tennessee, making news stories which allowed for Rainn Wilson’s YouTube channel, SoulPancake, to discover them.
“I started learning about how if a young person is given permission to be awesome, then they will be,” Montague said. “That’s very exciting to me, and it’s all about empowering them.”
Montague was ready to end the video project with Novak until SoulPancake reached out to them, wanting to help spread their inspiration to the world. They received other offers from different YouTube channels, but Montague said SoulPancake was the most ideal.
“None of the other offers had the heart and mission that SoulPancake did,” Montague said. “I thought if we’re going to partner with anybody, it’s going to be with people who have the same mission we do, so we teamed up, and together we were louder.”
Throughout his success, Novak has had the opportunity to meet many important people, Montague said. Novak was personally invited to The White House for a visit with President Barack Obama.
“I have to say something awesome-er than (meeting the president),” Novak said. “I kissed Beyoncé. Obama was cool too, he had some cool advice. He gave me a book of rules (The Constitution), a yo-yo, and some other toy.”
When speaking with the president, Montague said it was great that Obama validated all they had done, realizing these were not just silly videos; they were reaching out to people, and they were making an impact.
Montague said he and Novak wanted to create a book that kids and adults could enjoy together. They wanted the book to reach a level where a kid can read it and be inspired, but an adult could read it and feel that same inspiration.
“You have the option when you release a book to do book signings,” Montague said. “And that’s okay, but we wanted to have ‘book-doings’, where we did something from the book with kids. This was more exciting to us and it was more in our style. We get to go to different schools and we get to do a piece of the book with them, so it’s like the book brought to life in a sense.”
Novak and Montague visited Trombly on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. as a part of their book tour.
“That’s the whole point of the assembly,” Montague said. “It’s letting these kids know that they can, in their own way, change their community just by being who they are.”
Photo Credit – The Tower