May 27, 2022

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An Inclusive Panel Talks Children’s Literature and RIF’s Rally to Read

In a star-packed panel to celebrate the culmination of Reading is Fundamental’s Rally to Read, Alicia Levi, Orion Jean, Dr. Monica Brown, and Joanna Ho join host Mike Palmer in a roundtable discussion of the importance of reading and how representation matters when it comes to the stories we tell.

A Kids book about Leadership
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match

We highlight the books Orion, Monica, and Jeannie have written and how they share common themes that are critical trends in children’s literature these days. Orion talks about how he maintains balance as Time’s Kid of the Year, an author of A Kids Book About Leadership, and an avid reader. We hear the story of Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Dr. Brown who wrote the story in part for her children so they could read about people like them. Joanna builds on this explaining how she felt invisible due to the omission of people like her in the stories she learned from as a child. This has led her to write books like Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma and Eyes That Kiss in the Corners.

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners
Playing at the Border

We conclude with each panelist’s perspectives on the world of literacy and Kid Lit as we gear up for RIF’s Reading Inspires webcast on March 2nd with Read Alouds from authors like the ones on our panel.

Subscribe to Trending in Education wherever you get your pods. Visit us at TrendinginEd.com for more insightful takes on where the world of learning is heading.


Episode References



Brown, M. (2011). Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina (Bilingual edition). Children’s Book Press.

Ho, J. (2021). Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma. HarperCollins.

Ho, J. (2021). Eyes That Kiss in the Corners (Later Printing edition). HarperCollins.

Jean, O. (2021). A Kids Book About Leadership. A Kids Book About, Inc.

Jolie, A. (2022, February 9). Orion Jean Is TIME’s 2021 Kid of the Year. TIME. https://time.com/6144632/kid-of-the-year-2021-orion-jean/