PO Box 2749
Tappahannock, VA 22560 US

Nelson Beats the Odds Activity Guide

The Nelson Beats the Odds Activity Guide gives youth a colorful way to express their creativity. It includes easy and engaging activities to help students improve literacy and critical thinking skills. Students build critical thinking skills by completing puzzles, quizzes and discussion questions about the graphic novel. Youth can add their own personal touch to illustrations from Rest in Peace RaShawn, Nelson Beats the Odds, and Tameka’s New Dress. Rest in Peace RaShawn completes a series of quality young adult literature by Ronnie Sidney, II, LCSW and Traci Van Wagoner. The Nelson Beats the Odds Series inspires confidence in children and encourage a fondness for reading and a heightened level of social awareness. If you’re looking for an awesome digital experience, download our free “Nelson Beats The Odds Comic Creator” app for your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod). Our app gives young people an opportunity to place themselves in our books and read them free of charge. Please visit http://www.nelsonbeatstheodds.com for more information.Type your paragraph here.

Professional Speaking Services

​​Ronnie Sidney, II, LCSW has over a decade of experience speaking at schools, colleges, churches, and conferences. His presentations focus on resilience, disabilities, trauma, cultural responsiveness, resilience, and more. For more information, email inquiries to nelsonbeatstheodds@gmail.com.

Professional Speaker Services            Fee Schedule                 Time Allotted

School Visits, Book Talks and              $750 - $4,000                 4 hours
Book Readings

Professional Development                  $1,500 - $10,000            4 hours      


Keynote and Conference                    $1,500 - $5,000                4 hours
Travel and lodging fees apply for events 90 miles or more outside of Tappahannock, Virginia. Each additional hour beyond the allotted time will require an additional $300 per hour fee. Video conferencing services are available for a discounted rate.

Speaker Topics:

  • The Journey from a Child with Learning and Attention Issues to a Best-Selling Author

  • A Story of Resilience: How I Beat the Odds

  • Helping our most Vulnerable Children Beat the Odds

  • How can I Help: Doing Life with Learning and Attention Issues

  • Is your Organization Trauma-Informed and Culturally Responsive?

  • Perceptions of the Black FatherLiberty and Justice for All? Examining the Untold Trayvon Martin Stories

Tameka's New Dress

When you’re the new girl in school it can be a little scary. It’s even tougher when your parents aren’t there to help. Some of the kids might be friendly but what about that mean girl who’s always picking on you? The author brings up the subjects of childhood trauma, parental substance abuse, kinship care and bullying with a gentle touch suitable for even the youngest children. Tameka’s New Dress shines a light on these tough things and lays them out on the table to talk about. He also presents us with a strong girl in Tameka, who not only finds adults who can and do support her, but also finds a way to confront her bullies without becoming a bully herself. 

Nelson Beats the Odds: Compendium One

The Nelson Beats the Odds Compendium 1 gives readers a chance to experience Nelson Beats the Odds and Tameka’s New Dress in one thrilling graphic novel. The compendium presents real tips for real life situations and is a great addition to library shelves. The Nelson Beats the Odds Compendium 1 gives readers a chance to experience Nelson Beats the Odds and Tameka’s New Dress in one thrilling graphic novel. The compendium presents real tips for real life situations and is a great addition to library shelves. 

Educator's Guide to the Nelson Beats the Odds Series

In the United States, one in five students has a learning or attention issue, such as dyslexia and ADHD, and nearly 50 percent have been exposed to some sort of trauma. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and award-winning author Ronnie Sidney, II provides recommendations to help vulnerable students thrive in the classroom. With over 70 pages of content, this guide equips educators with practical strategies to promote positive student outcomes and increased emotional well-being. The Educator’s Guide to the Nelson Beats the Odds Series is designed by Imagine That! Design.

Rest in Peace RaShawn Reloaded

The author, Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW, captures the emotional upheaval suffered by families and communities nationwide following the sudden, violent demise of black men. He presents the violence and suffering in a sensitive, easy-to-understand and age-appropriate format for kids. This book is a good way to broach the painful but necessary conversations families across the nation are having with their children, and provides thoughtful discussion points on how to heal the legacy of distrust between African- American communities and the police who are supposed to protect them. 

Fatherhood takeover

Let's lead!

The FatherHood Takeover

The FatherHood Takeover aims to build healthy relationships between fathers, or father figures, and their children. Tione Meade, the event's founder, partnered with Ronnie Sidney II and Micheal "Mike-E" Stewart to put on the event at the Tappahannock Volunteer Fire Department on July 18, 2015. We are looking for new members who genuinely care about giving back to their community.


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Let's read!

Nelson Beats The Odds

Nelson use to think school was all about playing around and talking with his friends. When Nelson learns that he has been placed in Special Education, he fears being teased. Consequently, he keeps his learning disability and ADHD diagnosis a secret. With the encouragement of his parents and assistance from Mrs. T., his Special Education teacher, Nelson pushes the boundaries and discovers his potential. 

Exploring Trauma through the Lens of Graphic Novels 

The interactive presentation takes participants on an emotional ride through “Tameka’s New Dress” and “Rest in Peace RaShawn”. These two critically acclaimed graphic novels help teachers and young adults explore trauma, race and policing in a sensitive, easy-to-understand format. Sidney will use Tameka’s and Jeremy’s stories to help participants better understand the role trauma plays in young people’s lives. The presentation will equip educators with tools they can use to help their schools become more trauma informed.

Perceptions of the Black Father

This presentation seeks to dispel the absent black father myth and explore the current and historical perceptions black fathers in America. The presentation will also examine the risk, protective and resilience factors of non-residential, single and incarcerated Black fathers and their children.

Insecurities of Special Education: What it’s like to be Black, Male and Learning Disabled

This interactive journey is designed to give participants a glimpse into the real-life experiences of Ronnie Sidney, II, LCSW. In 2015, Sidney released Amazon best-seller "Nelson Beats the Odds", a semiautobiographical comic book about a young man who struggles with the shame of being placed in special education. The comic book gives readers a glimpse into the African-American male experience in special education. The presenter will share how self-efficacy, resiliency and championing helped him beat the odds. During the presentation we’ll explore how race, gender and ability impact student outcomes. Participants will be introduced to box of therapeutic tools, including the Nelson Beats the Odds Comic Creator app that can used to inspire struggling students to beat the odds.

Liberty and Justice for All? Examining the deaths of unarmed African American men and boys in America

The disturbing trend of African-American men and boys being killed by police officers and vigilantes has led to protests and violence in communities of color all around the nation. The presenter examines how structural inequalities, racial disparities and over-policing could have contributed to the victim’s untimely deaths. The presentation also explores the mainstream media’s coverage of the killings of black males, protests and “riots”.


We do Author visits, professional workshops and more!

Creative Medicine Healing Through Words

Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words (CMHTW) is an expressive writing program developed by Ronnie Sidney II and Cleveland Winfield III. Evidence demonstrates that expressive writing interventions can decrease depression and anxiety, improve overall cognitive functioning, alleviate anger, reduce stress and improve biological health in a variety of. The program uses expressive writing, poetry therapy, positive psychology, dialogue and self-reflection to help participants enhance functioning. Workshops are offered to adolescent and adult populations.

Self-Publishing and Social Justice

Sidney will explore his self-publishing journey and share tips with participants. ​The workshop will examine the intersection of gender and race in graphic novels. Graphic novels offer well-written and exciting stories, new points of view and stimulating artwork. They appeal to a wide audience of readers and are great platforms to address social issues that confront children today. 

Families Do Time, Too

This workshop explores challenges incarcerated parents and children of incarcerated parents face. It also explores positive outcomes of father-child relationships and gives incarcerated fathers some tips on how to strengthen their fatherhood skills. 

Using Graphic Novels to Increase Literacy and Emotional Health Skills

​The professional workshop begins with a book reading. Participants will then present in individual and group activities around themes in the book. Participants will be given tools they can use to engage emergent, reluctant or struggling readers. 

Professional Lectures & Dialogues

let's talk!