Young readers and listeners will have an opportunity to meet an author during a book signing presented by the Bessemer Housing Authority on Saturday.

Tonja McKelvey, a native of Bessemer, will meet children and parents and sign copies of her books during the event at Southside Homes A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club from 1 to 3 p.m. The activity is designed to encourage reading and introduce young readers to an author who is from their community.

McKelvey will present her two books, “How Will I Get Through My 1st Day of School?” and “Tag Along With Me And See How the Rest of My Year Will Be!”

The signing is free and open to all.

McKelvey’s first book is about a little girl who is about to begin her first day of school, complete with her thoughts about what awaits her. The second book follows up on her journey to the classroom and her new school.

McKelvey is a new author with both of her books published just last summer. The mother of three adult sons is also a former reading instructor for kindergartens and 1st graders and a 4th grade reading tutor, for the Birmingham Board of Education.

“What inspired me to become an author is that I love to read and write, especially poetry. I loved working in the school system, with children, helping them with hands-on contact with reading,” she said. “My inspiration came from my childhood when I needed an outlet to express my feelings. I was timid and bullied in elementary school, therefore, I can relate well with the character in the book, about being nervous.”

Bessemer Housing Authority Executive Director Cortney Coleman said the activity is intended to inspire excitement about reading and exploration through reading.

“We want to expose our youngest residents and their families to exciting and relatable books as early as possible and show them the endless possibilities through reading,” Coleman said. “By bringing authors such as Ms. McKelvey into our community we hope to open a new world of reading and creativity. Who knows who might be inspired among the visitors to dig even deeper and be inspired to write their own stories.”

More information about Saturday’s event is available by contacting Tomeka Robinson at 205-481-4420 EXT. 222 or