Shark Tank Businessman Daymond John Donates His Children’s Book to CPS, Chicago Public Library

New York Times bestselling author and entrepreneur joined Mayor Brandon Johnson at Brunson Elementary for a reading of his new book

CHICAGO — Businessman, TV personality, motivational speaker, and bestselling author Daymond John donated thousands of copies of his book, Little Daymond Learns to Earn, on Thursday to numerous District schools and several Chicago Public Library (CPL) branches across the city.

Mr. John, a New York City native, is widely known for his appearances on the ABC TV series Shark Tank and for co-creating FUBU (For Us, By Us), the streetwear clothing line brand that gained immense popularity during the 1990s. Mr. John showcased his generous spirit through his time with students Thursday and donation of more than 800 books to CPS schools and 81 CPL branches. Mayor Brandon Johnson joined Mr. John at Milton Brunson Math & Science Specialty Elementary, where they read the book to students and guests.  The donation was made possible in collaboration with local donors Amy and Scott Madden who were on hand as they helped bring the books to Chicago schools and libraries. The District partnered with the Chicago Public Library in order to make the event a success.

“As someone who remembers the importance of the FUBU brand to the community, it’s amazing to see Daymond John continuing to give back and impart knowledge to our students,” said Mayor Johnson. “Daymond’s story shows that entrepreneurship and building a platform from the ground up is something that’s attainable for all of Chicago’s children.”

Little Daymond Learns to Earn, published in March 2023, details how a group of kids, much like Mr. John’s childhood friends who went on to create FUBU with him, got together and came up with a plan to make money to buy a music poster. The book is meant to establish a foundation surrounding early literacy, while also teaching young children the value of entrepreneurship.

Mr. John has been an advocate for pursuing financial literacy for as long as he’s been in business, and he’s looking to help parents start those financial discussions with their kids at an earlier age. From a childhood in Hollis, Queens with a mother who worked hard to instill a basic business knowledge within him to a position as a Shark investing in small businesses, he knows better than anyone how crucial an understanding of money is to achieving success and financial freedom. This book was written to empower the next generation.

“We are excited and full of gratitude to receive Mr. John’s book donation to our schools, and Chicago Public Library branches throughout the city,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “Through Mr. John’s words, our students will have access to real time business acumen, building and maintaining relationships, and having respect for others.”

CPL Commissioner Chris Brown echoed CEO Martinez’s sentiments regarding the values Chicago’s young students will learn by reading John’s book.

“I want to thank Mr. John for keeping our city’s children in mind by donating his book to Chicago Public Library. Learning entrepreneurship at a young age is beneficial to all,” said Commissioner Brown. “Through John’s donation, our students will have access to direct knowledge shared in the international business community.”

More information about the CPS Curriculum, Instruction, and Digital Learning programs is available on the District’s website.

About Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is dedicated to providing a high-quality education to all students, beginning with the District’s free full-day preschool programming for four-year-old scholars and continuing through neighborhood, magnet and selective-enrollment elementary schools that provide a rigorous K-8 education with schools that specialize in the fine arts, world language and culture, dual language, STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB), classical programs, and more. The rising District-wide freshmen-on-track and high school graduation rates reflect the hard work of the CPS community, including families, staff, and students across 635 schools. CPS celebrates the diversity of its more than 322,000 students who cite 182 home languages. Learn more about CPS at and connect with CPS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Chicago Public Library

Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment, and knowledge through innovative services, programs, and technology. Through its 81 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits, and programs for children, teens, and adults. For more information, please call (312) 747-4300 or visit To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter/X (@chipublib), Facebook (Chicago Public Library), or Instagram (@chicagopubliclibrary).

About Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation

The Children First Fund is the philanthropic and partnership arm of Chicago Public School (CPS). It serves as a knowledge hub and liaison between CPS and its community of partners, securing and organizing resources that advance CPS’ mission to provide a high-quality public education that prepares every child in every neighborhood for success in college, career, and civic life. For more information, please visit or find us on social @ChiFirstFund or donate directly to CFF's Compassion Fund.