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The barbershop, as seen in films like Barbershop: The Next Cutwhich hits theaters April 15, will always be a place to get a little wisdom, a little laughter, and yes, a sharp line-up.

Boys who go to neighborhood barbershops in the Mobile and Pritchard, Alabama area are getting more than a haircut, too. They’re also discovering books they can relate to, with characters that look like them.

Freddie Stokes, a local attorney, started his literacy mission nearly one year ago. He graduated from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, but his own academic career got off to a rocky start.

Stokes grew up under challenging circumstances in a Mobile public housing community—in a section of the city he recalls as “the worst community in West Alabama.”

He said children there lacked positive role models in the neighborhood, and they certainly couldn’t find them in the books they read.

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