A Diverse Booklist for Read Aloud to a Child Week

Read Aloud to a Child Week, highlighting the importance – and fun – of reading aloud. This year, the week falls on October 24-30. We invite you to join in the celebration.

Read Aloud to a Child Week is presented by Read to Them and for this one week, their goal is to encourage families to spend time reading with their children and to inform everyone of the benefits this habit brings to children.

This initiative is very similar to my own non-profit, It Pays to Read.  It Pays to Read was formed in 2017, and I feel that the absolute best way to help children become better readers is to help them read the things they find enjoyable in books, magazines, and stories.

Children must have lots of opportunities to read, and that means having books readily available to them. Kids are also more likely to want to read if the book they are offered pertains to something they are interested in. One-hundred percent of the kids in our It Pays to Read program reported that they never knew that reading could be fun. Now, that was shocking to me. But they just had not had this modeled for them. They were reading the things their teachers gave them in school, which always felt like work. No one was giving them books or magazines that they might find entertaining.

It Pays to Read gives kids books that they want to read because the characters and the stories reflect their own experiences. If they’re going to read it, they will read more of it, which gives them more opportunities to improve their comprehension of words and meaning.

Check out this info-packed blog post, The Importance of Literacy and Why It Pays to Read, and learn more about the stats on illiteracy

Here are some of my book picks for wonderfully diverse books with messages that ALL kids need to hear that would be perfect for ANY time spent reading with your children:

Picture books:

Kayla: A Modern Day Princess Book One by Deedee Cummings:

This is the book that created a five-book series and them a quest for this series of books with have powerful messages and relevant topics to be turned into a Broadway play. Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess is a heartwarming story about family, role models, dreams, and discovering a determination for growth.
The first in a five-part series, this diverse picture book shines the spotlight on a little brown girl who loves musical theater and never lets anything get in the way of her dreams. Everyone else has an idea of who she should be, but in the end, she discovers that she is the one who gets to decide.
The story also reveals the special family dynamic that Kayla shares with her mom; a hard-working woman who struggles with the guilt of not being as available for her young daughter as she would like. But as the story progresses, Kayla and her mom realize the impact of valuing the time they have together as well as the importance of seeing each other acknowledge (and pursue) their individual dreams. For ages 3-8. Available on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback.

Watercress by Andrea Wang and Jason Chin

Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail-covered watercress as they can. At first, she’s embarrassed. Why can’t her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress.

Sir Drake the Brave by Joy Jordan-Lake
Joy is the best-selling author of over a dozen books, including three historical fiction novels and now two children’s books. Her previous children’s book A Crazy-Much Love (illustrated by Sonía Sanchez) is about a trans-racial adoption inspired by Joy’s experience adopting her own daughter. It received glowing reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, New York Journal of Books, and School Library Journal.  Sir Drake the Brave is inspired in part by Joy’s own son and his struggle with bedtime fears as a child. The character Drake was inspired by the son of a friend of Joy’s who was adopted from Haiti and wears a prosthetic leg. Joy and the illustrator, Susan Eaddy, wanted to make the book about Drake and him learning to fight bullies with kindness rather than making it all about Drake’s differences as someone who wears a prosthetic limb. Though Drake is differently-abled, it doesn’t define him and it doesn’t keep him from being the hero of his story.

30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis


30,000 Stitches tells the true story of the American flag that flew over Ground Zero in the days after 9/11, becoming torn and tattered, and later traveled across all 50 states to be fully restored before returning to New York as a symbol of unity and hope.

 How you can support It Pays to Read

  • Participate in the 2nd annual Louisville Book Festival!
    The Louisville Book Festival is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 2018 to celebrate and promote the love and the benefits of reading, writing, and literacy. We believe that literacy is a fundamental human right and that there is power and purpose in bringing books to life every day of the year. We celebrate books and use them to highlight and grow the resilient culture of our vibrant city, as well as to encourage and elevate our creative thinking as a community. Please join us on October 22nd and 23rd, 2021 at the Kentucky International Convention Center for excitement and exploration of all things books!
  • You can support this reading initiative by making a purchase from our MAWM Store (10% of all sales go to It Pays to Read) or help us spread the word with this stylin’ It Pays to Read t-shirt.

Encouraging our kids to read not only makes homes and classrooms stronger but also makes communities better. What book will you be reading aloud today?


The Louisville Book Festival 2021 is coming!


This online (Zoom) gathering continues to provide the opportunity to celebrate the city’s culture and vibrancy and reach the goal that all students have access to books in their homes.

Highway 65 is the divide between east and west Louisville. West of 65, there are no book stores which greatly reduces access to books for our children and youth, creating a book desert. Our goal for the Louisville Book Festival is to ensure every child that attends the Book Festival on Children’s Day leaves with at least one free age-appropriate book. We will continue to work on the goal of getting books into the hands of children year-round through our programs like It Pays to Read.

This 501(c) (3) non-profit organization was founded in 2018 to celebrate and promote the love and the benefits of reading, writing, and literacy. We believe that literacy is a fundamental human right and that there is power and purpose in bringing books to life every day of the year. We celebrate books and use them to highlight and grow the resilient culture of our vibrant city, as well as to encourage and elevate our creative thinking as a community. This book is open to the public and we will have amazing authors from all over the nation on hand to talk books and sign copies.

Please join us on October 22nd and 23rd, 2021 via ZOOM for excitement and exploration of all things books! Visit the website for more details.

Connect with The Louisville Book Festival via their website or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
Thank you for visiting our site. For a free copy of my very first book, please fill out this form.

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