Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

Exciting times ahead! As December races to a close, we’re just a heartbeat away from the January debut of my very first digital course for parents. But before we get into 2024, let’s reflect on the whirlwind that was 2023.

The highlights: I had the privilege of connecting with audiences at more than 50+ events and media appearances. Some were in-person—from bustling auditoriums in Santa Barbara, California, and Richmond, Virginia, to a family literacy night in a school cafeteria and a parent event in a children’s museum’s play grocery store here in Milwaukee. Others were virtual, from interviews with outlets in Portland, Oregon, and Greenville, South Carolina, to more intimate online gatherings of librarians from Maryland and Kansas. 

No matter where I found myself, the core message remained the same: Literacy is for everyone and fostered by everyone. I love sharing the nuts and bolts of reading development—the power of everyday conversation and teachable moments with kids—because that’s how change happens, through one person talking, reading, playing with, and nurturing another.

What I know for sure is that we will never attain the levels of literacy we need for our society to thrive until we fully engage parents in the earliest years of kids’ lives. That’s when early experiences and language (or their lack) set a lifelong trajectory for educational success (or struggle). Let’s keep the conversation going!