Writer LaDarian Smith is set to adapt the book Simon B. Rhymin’ for Sony imprint 3000 Pictures, as reported by Deadline. Homegrown Pictures will produce with Stephanie Allain.
Simon B. Rhymin’ comes from fourth grade teacher Dwayne Reed, who became a viral sensation thanks to his music video “Welcome to the 4th Grade.” The video’s popularity led to an appearance on Good Morning America, an Old Navy campaign, and the nickname “America’s favorite rapping teacher.”
Like the book, the film is described as “a humorous and heartwarming bounce-to-the-beat underdog story about a young rapper whose dream and rhymes help bring his community together.”
The book’s plot follows a young boy named Simon Barnes who figures out how to use his rapping skills to address an issue in his community. According to the official description from Little, Brown and Company:
“Eleven-year-old Simon Barnes dreams of becoming a world-famous rapper that everyone calls Notorious D.O.G. But for now, he’s just a Chicago fifth grader who’s small for his age and afraid to use his voice.
Simon prefers to lay low at school and at home, even though he’s constantly spitting rhymes in his head. But when his new teacher assigns the class an oral presentation on something that affects their community, Simon must face his fears.
With some help from an unexpected ally and his neighborhood crew, will Simon gain the confidence to rap his way to an A and prove that one kid can make a difference in his ‘hood?”
Reed hopes his debut novel “inspires young readers everywhere to use their voice to create change within their communities,” according to the Little, Brown and Company site.
The film is a perfect marriage between subject matter and screenwriter, since Smith is also from the teaching world. Before writing, Smith was a former high school English teacher through Teach for America. He is also a fresh voice in Hollywood after becoming a runner-up in Issa Rae and Deniese Davis’ 2017 Fresh Wave competition sponsored by ColorCreative. He has recently written for Lena Waithe’s series Boomerang and Twenties.