Former Buffs Star Jashon Sykes Publishes First Children's Book
By: Neill Woelk, Contributing Editor
Release: June 20, 2019
BOULDER — Jashon Sykes remembers reading bedtime stories to his first daughter (now 15 years old) and wondering why the stories weren't more impactful.
"I noticed then that whenever you read to a kid, it is one of the few opportunities that you have their undivided attention," said Sykes, a former Colorado standout and Denver Broncos linebacker. "It struck me that when you have their undivided attention, it should be an opportunity for them to be learning. The message in the storybook should be something they can retain, not just a pointless story. I thought to myself that I could write one of these books and it could have an educational angle to it, something they could learn from."
Now, roughly a decade later, Sykes — currently the Assistant Athletic Director of Football Operations at San Diego State — has published his first children's book, "Multitask With Jarvis and Dad." Sykes will be in Boulder on Saturday for a book signing event from 1 to 4 p.m. at Barnes and Noble in Crossroads Commons (2999 Pearl St.)
"Writing children's books has always been something I've aspired to do, but kind of kept in my back pocket because I was so busy with other things," Sykes said. "But I finally got tired of making the excuse that I'm busy and I started writing in my spare time. I put it together, created my own publishing company and here it is."
Colorado fans will remember Sykes as a standout linebacker at CU from 1998-2001. He is still among the Buffs' top 20 all-time leaders in tackles and tackles for loss, and still holds the Buffs record for most forced fumbles in a single season (seven in 1999).
Sykes also played two years for the Denver Broncos before returning to CU for six years in an administrative role. He is now entering his seventh year at SDSU.
Sykes, the father of three children, said he has "always had a desire to inspire young people." He does get that opportunity in his role as a college football administrator, but he laughs, "A lot of them just want to talk about the NFL."
With his children's books (he is planning a series on Jarvis, an energetic, inquisitive little panda bear), Sykes believes he can impact a much larger audience while helping kids and their parents.
"There aren't a lot of people who have this message in their storybooks," Sykes said. "There's a lot of opportunity there. Everything in the book series has a rhyme and reason to it."
Sykes has clearly analyzed every detail possible in his books. He chose a panda family after considering a variety of options.
"I was originally going to use humans," he said. "One thing I noticed is there weren't a lot of children's books that had African-American characters. But I also thought wanted it to have a broad appeal. I didn't want it to be for a specific group, I wanted it to be for everyone. So I chose pandas because they are rare, uncommon — and everyone loves pandas. You never hear anything bad about a panda."
Sykes also hopes to turn his books into a cartoon series. He has adapted cartoon scripts from the book and is in the process of presenting to producers.
"There's a lot of opportunity there," he said. "I still love what I do for the university, but we all have aspirations outside of our daily jobs and our daily routines. It's definitely something I want to continue doing."