The Louisville Book Festival celebrates the city’s culture and resilience while increasing book access for children. I was honored to present at the event, which was held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville from October 28-29.  In particular, I loved that every little one who attended the Children’s Day portion of the festival received a free age-appropriate book. What a lovely initiative!

Media coverage of Maya at the Louisville Book Festival included Our Book Fest Comes (Even More) Alive! by T.E. Lyons and an interview at Kentucky Educational Television’s Kentucky Edition with Renee Shaw.

Reading for Our Lives is a timely, necessary tool as U.S. literacy hits critical levels. Currently, 43 million Americans between ages 16 to 65 can’t read well enough to complete a job application, follow a bus schedule, understand a rental agreement or parse choices at the ballot box. Low-income kids and children of color suffer the most. Reading for Our Lives offers parents from all walks of life hope and a lifeline. Smart encourages and motivates caregivers to use whatever they have of their most valuable resource – time – to set their children on the road to success.

Maya Payne Smart is a writer, parent educator, and literacy advocate who has served on the boards of numerous library and literacy organizations. She and her family live in Milwaukee, where she serves as affiliated faculty in educational policy and leadership in the College of Education at Marquette University. Her website,, provides tips and tools for parents to nurture, teach, and advocate for kids on the road to reading.