Make A Way Media was founded by Deedee Cummings after she worked as an in-home therapist and saw just how many children lacked books in their homes. Children need books and they need books with stories and characters that reflect their own experiences. In children’s literature, this concept is called “windows and mirrors”.
She began buying books to use in therapy and giving them away to the kids she worked with. Recognizing that the call was greater than she could address on her own, Deedee went on to found the It Pays to Read program and the Louisville Book Festival in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Last year, Deedee was responsible for children in her community getting more than 7,000 books directly in their hands.
The Louisville Book Festival is now in its fourth year. This year it will be held on November 10th and 11th in downtown Louisville at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The festival will host over 100 authors, exhibitors, presenters, and even Pete the Cat is expected to make an appearance.
There are so many ways you can help your community highlight literacy issues and foster a love of reading. If you don’t have the energy to start a festival that is perfectly okay. You can:
- volunteer to read books at a school or day care.
- buy books for a teacher’s classroom. Ask teachers about the books their students want.
- support authors by buying their books and talking about them on social media. Don’t forget to tag the author.
- start and maintain a little free library in an area where access to books is limited. Here is an article on how easy that is.
- host a book club and write about your journey for others to follow.
- give books as gifts. Because they are!
- treat yourself to your own collection of books. Read them regularly and talk about them to everyone you know. Many times, we actually forget how good a good book can be and we all need a reminder to step away from screentime and get back to the goodness of books!
Any of these steps will help your community do exactly what Deedee’s reading program, It Pays To Read, and the Louisville Book Festival do: highlight how important books and reading are to all of us, individually, and as a community.
Give us more ideas for how anyone, especially those with limited time and resources, can highlight books in their community! We will compile a list and post it when it is complete. Happy reading!