Reading For Life Author Partnerships

Vladimir Sainte and students at author visit

Medical experts have declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, citing the serious toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of existing challenges. Lead to Read KC believes in “Reading For Life,” and we are using our literacy platform to promote positive mental health strategies. It’s a time of critical need for further development of these life skills. Lindsay Lowe, Whittier Elementary School Counselor, said this about our program: 

“Recently, author Nikiyah Crosdale came to read her book with our second-grade classes and taught them about the very important skill of thinking positive thoughts. I keep a copy of Nikiyah’s book (“The Thought Jar”) on display in my office, and many kids light up when they see that they recognize the book. One student who struggles with thinking positive thoughts has made significant improvement in this area since they were introduced to the book. This student will proudly tell me, ‘I decided I am going to have a great day’ just like the character in Nikiyah’s book did. Thank you Lead to Read for impacting our students.”

We are partnering with three local authors, serving hundreds of students at our partner schools, and are grateful to work with these authors to promote self-esteem and other coping skills among students. Learn about the Fall 2021 launch of the program

Nikiyah Crosdale

“The Thought Jar” has a powerful message about the importance of positive thinking. Many thanks to the Cerner Charitable Foundation for funding Nikiyah’s visit and book gifting.

“I thoroughly enjoy reading my book to the students of my community. The best part is their reaction to my book and knowing they will take the message of positive thinking with them throughout their lives. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Lead to Read and be a part of such a great and impactful act of service.”

— Nikiyah Crosdale, Author: “The Thought Jar”

Kristen Heath

Kristen’s book “We’re All Weird” emphasizes inclusivity, kindness and respect.  

“I am so excited to be partnering with Lead to Read KC to bring my book to Kansas City’s youth. My main goal is to help younger generations in turning their imagination into endless possibilities while encouraging kindness, self-esteem and purpose. I hope every child who reads my book feels empowered to be their authentic, weird little selves!” 

— Kristen Heath, Author: “We’re All Weird”

Vladimir Sainte

Vladimir is a licensed clinical social worker who has partnered with us since 2018. Vladmir’s book “It Will Be Okay” brings a message of hope about overcoming bullying, anxiety and fear. “Just Like a Hero” teaches personal values and challenges negative thoughts. Many thanks to emfluence digital marketing and the Children’s Services Group of Jackson County for providing financial support for this partnership!

“As a therapist of color, it has been difficult finding inclusive children’s literature that focuses on emotional health. So, I decided to create my own book series that highlights it is okay to talk about mental health with children. I am excited to partner again with Lead to Read KC, a wonderful organization focused on building connections between our city’s youth and reading mentors, to share this message with their students.”  
— Vladimir Sainte, Author: “Just Like a Hero” and “It Will Be Okay”

How You Can Help

The social-emotional toll of the pandemic on children is something we can’t overlook. 

  • Learn more about the national emergency in children’s health. 
  • Make a donation to help support expanding this program. 
  • And / or become a Reading Mentor. Our reading and mentoring program also supports students’ social-emotional skills. Learn more at leadtoreadkc.org/volunteer — and invite your friends and colleagues to volunteer with you!

Are you a local author interested in providing positive messaging to students in the community, or a school or organization that wishes to provide author visits to the children you support? Please reach out to Katherine at [email protected]

Resources  

Nikiyah Crosdale at author visit
Kristen Heath
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