By Courtney Runn
Do you catch yourself scrolling mindlessly on Instagram before bed or in the carpool line? Good news: You can turn your scrolling into a literacy-building activity for your kids! In a happy, literary corner of the internet, #bookstagram accounts offer an easy way to find reading recommendations and discover new authors.
Instead of the clothing hauls and makeup tips many online influencers share, “bookfluencers” are a vast collection of literacy advocates, book lovers, parents, and educators offering reviews and “book shelfies.”
Make reading aloud more rewarding for the whole family.
With more than 50 million posts under the hashtag #bookstagram on Instagram, there are endless accounts to discover. We rounded up some of our favorites that share kids’ reads, so you can scroll and support your child’s literacy at the same time.
Charnaie Gordon’s background is in computer programming but literacy is clearly her passion. The manager behind the popular Here Wee Read and 50 States by 50 Books accounts, Gordon also hosts a “bookish podcast dedicated to celebrating diverse and inclusive books for kids and adults.”
On Here Wee Read, you can find themed lists of children’s books—like “10 Black History Board Books for Tiny Readers”—along with peeks inside her favorite picture books and book-themed giveaways. Gordon says that, rather than “othering” diverse books or promoting books just for girls or for boys, she hopes her accounts foster the idea that all books are for everyone.
Children’s author Emma Otheguy wrote her latest book, A Sled for Gabo, to reflect her family’s Caribbean traditions, which she rarely saw depicted in books. As an author who focuses on Latinx identity, Otheguy uses her Instagram account to share book recommendations that “reflect the diversity and the unique cultures that make up our nation and world.” Her gorgeous and eye-catching #bookstagram pictures feature titles that celebrate a wide variety of cultures and holidays.
If you’re looking for roundups of kids’ books on a variety of topics, Happily Ever Elephants has you covered! You’ll find lists about everything from potty training to voting to handling anxiety, all set to help you explore with your kids and initiate important conversations. With two boys of her own, Lauren Bercuson Davis created her blog and Instagram account to empower other moms to address kids’ real-life problems through story time.
If you’re building a more inclusive home library, Helping Kids Rise is a great source of inspiration. Since 2016, the account has been sharing children’s books that “educate, empower, and affirm,” so you have years’ worth of recommendations to add to your shopping cart or library waitlist. Here, you’ll find books for all ages that feature role models and trailblazers throughout history.
The “reading ninja” is actually an anonymous mother-son duo who took on a secretive persona, a la Banksy, to stealthily leave Reading is Rad stickers promoting literacy around New York City. Their sticker campaign has now gone global, and they’ve launched an accompanying Instagram account devoted to all things books that’s sure to inspire your kids to become reading ninjas, too.
Don’t forget to check out MayaSmart.com on Instagram! Connect with Maya to scroll through our latest literacy activities for parents and kids, to celebrate authors with us, to get book reccs, and much more. Our mission is to help your family read well to live well. Whether you’re expecting your first child or are well along in your parenting journey, we’re here to help you raise strong readers who will change the world.
Bonus: Ripple Reads
Ripple Reads is an organization that looks upstream to address racism before it takes root in the next generation. Aiming to get parents and their little ones excited to stand up for racial justice, the organization produces a free family newsletter with antiracist parenting curriculum, each one featuring a book of the month. Their Instagram feed shares tips for discussing race with children and important conversation starters. Learn more in our Q&A with Ripple Reads founder Kelli Mason.
P.S. Did you add one or two … or maybe 20 … books to your wish list after checking out these accounts? Consider getting them from a local bookstore or a black bookstore. And let us know in the comments what’s on your reading list!