Hampton University
Hampton University Alumna, Chental Song Bembry, Tackles Bullying through New Novel, 'Desiree Davenport'
03/20/2020 - #207

HAMPTON, Va. (March 20, 2020) – Author, motivational speaker and Hampton University alumna Chental Song Bembry (c/o 2018) is continuing her legacy of children’s literature. Since making her debut on the 2015 BET Honors and Black Girls Rock! awards shows as an Early Riser and a Making a Difference Girl, she has published a new middle-grade novel called “Desiree Davenport: Welcome to Treeless Park,” available now on Amazon. Bembry is a literacy advocate who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hampton with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a minor in Leadership Studies.  

“We are incredibly proud of Ms. Chental Song Bembry. She continues to shine and is a perfect example of a Hamptonian letting her life do the singing,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
 
“Desiree Davenport,” Bembry’s first comprehensive middle grade novel, tackles bullying using youth football and cheerleading. The story focuses on a 12-year-old girl named Desiree, who moves to a new city with her mom after her parents get divorced. As a youth cheerleader, Desiree befriends fraternal twin brothers Rashad and Phil du Bois, the stars of the football team, who welcome her into their large family. Desiree feels content in having regained a sense of family since her parents’ divorce, but she becomes conflicted upon discovering that the twins are bullies. Relying on her love of mystery books, Desiree sets out to uncover why the twins bully their football teammate, Chauncey Willis. “Desiree Davenport: Welcome to Treeless Park” targets boys and girls ages eight to 14 and is available now on Amazon for $9.99.

Bembry said she wrote “Desiree Davenport” to provide readers with an alternative to mainstream books, which often push negative topics on African-American middle-grade children. These topics, Bembry said, include drugs, prison, police brutality, racism, and self-hatred.

“I wrote ‘Desiree Davenport’ because I wanted to write a normal story about a group of kids who explore how they treat and interact with each other in and outside of school,” Bembry said. “I wanted to tell a story that highlights the very best of people in a community who care about each other; a story that allows children to see a positive representation of themselves, their families, and their friends in each of my characters.”  

In addition, Bembry said she wrote “Desiree Davenport” to combat bullying in a “fresh way.” As opposed to anti-bullying novels that focus mostly on the person being bullied, Bembry’s novel explores bullying by focusing more on the bullies themselves.

“I believe that the answer to anti-bullying starts with the bully,” Bembry said. “If we take the time to analyze exactly why the bully behaves the way he or she does, then we will find the source of the problem and end it much quicker. This is what I hope my novel shows readers.”

Bembry is no stranger to children’s literature. In 2010, at the age of 13, she wrote and illustrated “The Honey Bunch Kids,” a humorous and educational chapter book series about a group of sixth graders who explored themes of friendship, respect and group dynamics. Bembry then started a literacy campaign and traveled to schools, libraries, churches and book clubs to speak to children about the importance of reading and goal setting.
 
“’The Honey Bunch Kids’ was definitely the gateway to ‘Desiree Davenport,’” Bembry said. “In ‘Desiree Davenport,’ the characters explore leadership roles when they are challenged to complete an anti-bullying project.”
 
During her time at Hampton, Bembry interned at Sony Music Entertainment, ABC 2 News in Baltimore, MD, American Banker in New York, and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir. Today, Bembry works as an Inside Account Manager at SHI International Corp.

Bembry’s contributions to literacy have been recognized by Black Enterprise, Ebony Magazine, Essence Magazine, ESPN’s The Undefeated, BuzzFeed, USA Today, The Ringer, The Cheat Sheet TV, the National Urban League, and Black Entertainment Television. In 2015, she was recognized at the BET Honors as an “Early Riser” and at the Black Girls Rock! awards show, where the former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, declared her a “Making a Difference Girl.” In May 2018, Chental was featured in LeBron James’ Always Believe campaign during the NBA Playoffs.

“I am very thankful to the professors and staff at Hampton University for their support and encouragement of my projects. Hampton has supported me since my freshman year,” Bembry said. “Because of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, I’ve had many opportunities to work at top media companies. As a graduating fellow of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute, I learned that when faced with rejection, it’s up to me to find the courage to stand up for what I believe in. In addition, I’ve learned how I can use my talents to impact the lives of children and change the way they see themselves in literature. I am extremely grateful to be an alumna of such a prestigious institution. It will always be my ‘Home by the Sea.’”

“It was a pleasure to get to know Ms. Chental Song Bembry during her time in Leadership Institute. She worked at ABC 2 News in Baltimore, my hometown, and that was the catalyst for numerous conversations about life and future career plans after Hampton University. I recall her telling me about ‘The Honey Bunch Kids,’ and the various series and mediums she was planning to create and informed her about a friend of mine who was also publishing a children’s book based on her two dogs. I am not surprised that Ms. Bembry completed one of her goals as her favorite quote is from Louis Pasteur, ‘chance favors the prepared mind,’ and she was always a believer and practiced the third principle of the Harvey Leadership Model - Academic Excellence,” said Dr. Jarris Louis Taylor, Jr., Director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute.  

In her spare time, Bembry continues writing.

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