‘Little big shot’: 7-year-old opens ‘pop-up’ library in Tallahassee

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Outside a church on Tharpe Street, 7-year-old Caleb Stewart — dressed in a suit — held onto a pair of scissors almost as long as he is tall.

Soon, his father cut a red ribbon and Caleb’s new popup library was officially open.

Caleb, who wore a mask with Mario Kart characters on it, then addressed members of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, the Capital City Chamber of Commerce, his pastor, family and friends.

“Our goal is to get more books into the hands of kids unlocking every child’s reading potential to comprehend and retain any text placed in front of them,” he said. “We will encourage them to have confidence and know that it’s OK to ask for help when reading unfamiliar words.”

Caleb is CEO of the nonprofit Master Caleb’s Discovery Library, a pop-up library that delivers free books and reading materials to kids of all ages in the county. The pop-up library is in a towable trailer and has books for pre-K to 12th grade kids.

Tuesday morning at Alarm International Church, he became the youngest member of both chambers of commerce. The 7-year-old, who went viral with his motivational speech about reading at just 4 years old, also has appeared on NBC’s “Little Big Shots.” 

After Caleb addressed the crowd, he ran to hug his grandmother, or “Mema,” Valerie Price.

“He was so breathtaking, I don’t know what to say,” said Katrina Tuggerson, the Capital City Chamber of Commerce’s president. “It was just so profound.”

On Friday at 11:30 a.m., Stewart and his family will be at Fun Station to install a Blue Box, a little free library that will be sponsored by the nonprofit.

Stewart, who goes to Sealey Elementary School, said it was called a Blue Box because blue is his favorite color. Discovery Library is still looking for partners to sponsor programs and to donate books.

“You are so wonderful, I hope you realize that,” said Stephanie Shumate, a Tallahassee Chamber ambassador, to Stewart as a red ribbon unfurled in front of them.

“If you ever need anyone to tell you how awesome you are other than your Mema, I’ll tell you every day.”

For more information about the Discovery Library, how to volunteer or how to donate, call 850-518-0435.