Jerami Grant, PJ Dozier Stoke Excitement for Books
Caught in a daze before Jerami Grant offered a high-five greeting, third-grader Jaidyn needed a few moments to collect herself.
After her panting subsided, her face morphed into disbelief causing Grant to laugh.
The Thunder forward is Jaidyn’s and her mother’s favorite player as she declared to Grant, who couldn’t help but break into an appreciative smile.
“She really screams. And every time he hits a shot she gets really excited,” Jaidyn said. “I was almost about to cry.”
For 70 third-grade students at Will Rogers Elementary, Grant alongside teammate PJ Dozier spent Monday afternoon scanning the shelves for select titles inside the Rolling Thunder Book Bus, presented by American Fidelity.
After the initial shock of meeting Grant in person who was sitting at the far end of the bus with his lithe 6-foot-9 frame folded, Jaidyn eventually went back to the business of finding her book of choice, with Grant’s help of course.
“It’s great to see that I have a lot of fans, especially the youth,” Grant said. “The young kids are the best kind of fans.”
While these young Thunder fans on hand have taken notice of Grant’s rim-jarring and shot-swatting on-court feats, a long-beloved figure has also won their hearts and minds.
Paperbacks of “Captain Underpants” were flying off the shelves.
Mining for favorites from the bus’ 3,000 plus book collection, Dozier was not surprised to see student after student clutching their own copies from the popular book series. Their zest for books reminded him of his favorites during his childhood.
“Captain Underpants was a fan favorite. I was a Nate the Great fan growing up,” said Dozier. ”Seeing those books definitely brought back those memories.”
With toothy grins and high-fives aplenty on the bus, Grant prized the chance to whet reading appetites while making recommendations. The Chronicles of Narnia collection was one of his favorites growing up.
“It was a good experience to see how excited the kids were to read,” said Grant. “To be here and experience that is big for us.”
Having the Thunder duo stoke the young bookworms’ fire for reading while planting the seeds for new converts was what the day was all about.
“When you see that they have that love of reading, that inspires our kids to enjoy reading as well,” said John Lunn, principal of Will Rogers Elementary.
The surprise visit from Grant and Dozier turned what would have been just another school day into a fun-filled afternoon centered on books that the kids would never forget—a win for reading.
“These kids didn’t make it feel like a Monday. I actually forgot it was Monday,” said Dozier. “It was great energy for a Monday.”
For Jaidyn, she not only took home a copy of “Polar Bear Patrol” from the Magic School Bus chapter books, but also something to tell her mother.
Lunn: “When they know that a player who they look up to likes to read and likes books, that’s super exciting.”
Stoking the fire for reading. Dozier: "All of them have a lot of energy coming on the bus. We asked them what kind of books they liked and they were able to tell us right away. They weren’t shy or indecisive." Photo by Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder
Book recommendations. Narnia fan Grant shares his love for the popular CS Lewis fantasy series with a fellow bookworm. Photo by Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder
This is why we play. Hugs and books from Dozier. Photo by Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder
Watch: Thunder Duo Inspires Love of Reading With Book Bus