Alvin Irby lies in the unique intersect between comedy and education. The founder of Barbershop Books, “a nonprofit organization that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops and provides early literacy training to barbers,” Irby has a passion for bringing reading to male-dominated spaces. His humor and belief in the power of building communities through reading has made him both a successful stand up (a 2015 StandUp NBC national finalist), as well as entrepreneur. Irby also triples as a public speaker on topics like Black Male Achievement and Cultural Competency. This dude is one smart ass cookie dipped in a tall glass of funny.
Gross Greg is Irby’s debut children’s book that uses wit and rhyme to comment on kid behavior. In much the same way comics tell stories using self-deprecation to make a larger point about the human behaviors we all share but never talk about, this easy-to-read silly 40 page book is as promised, gross, but hidden under the relatable tendencies of children everywhere. The colorful illustrations by Tanzanian-born artist, Kelvin Ntukula, are equally impressive, and bring life to each page. This is a smart-humored book that both children and adults can enjoy, unsurprising given Irby holds a Masters of Science (M.S.) in General Childhood Education.