October 6, 2022

KC-area children’s book authors discuss the importance of children’s literacy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four Kansas City-area children’s book authors have their own stories of how they got to reading. For Crystal Everett, it started young.

“I started reading at an early age,” Everett said. “I was the kid who tried to read in the dark and just had books upon books upon books.”

Everett’s mother was a teacher. She said the focus on education inspired her passion for English lessons as a student.

Now working in education herself, Everett understands the importance of children’s literacy.

“In my professional life, working with high school students, I can sometimes see a difference when it comes to students’ actual ability to grasp general concepts,” she said. “And I think there’s a big difference for kids who have this opportunity to be surrounded by books.

Like Everett, Cynthia Fails learned her love of reading from her mother.

“My love for reading came from the bedtime stories my mother read to me,” Fails said. “And just getting out right before bed, feeling that nurturing spirit that she poured into me reading those bedtime stories. When I had the chance to learn to read, I started to read to him again, and that love of reading spurred on from there.

Fails has written eight children’s books since leaving school and starting LaunchCrate Publishing. She said she loves writing for children because they are so open to growing, learning and sharing.

“If I have the ability to put an idea in their mind that makes something possible that wasn’t necessarily possible before, and then they can inject it into someone else, you can start to create these endless ripples,” Fails said.

Clarence Lomax hopes his book will have that kind of impact.

“I hope this opens their minds to different career paths that aren’t your norm. They can be anything they want to be, no matter what life throws at them,” he said. .

Lomax strives to inspire children to pursue their passions, helping them see all the possibilities of what they could do in the future.

Making decisions that lead to a better future is what Christle Reed thinks books can help children do.

“Reading can be part of a child’s healing process,” Reed said. “Reading can be part of a child’s choice in one way or another. It gives them the opportunity to take a break, it gives them the opportunity to connect with the outside world and it gives them the opportunity to just being with themselves. And I think that’s a lot of what our kids need these days.

Reed’s father died when she was 11. Her book encompasses what she would have liked to read at that time.

“I always thought about the 11-year-old girl inside me,” she said. “And I don’t want to see another kid have to go through so many tough decisions, so many bad decisions, so many states of anxiety because they didn’t have the proper tools to help them heal when it came down to it. is actually produced.

These four KC authors have one thing in common: they believe in the “If you give a child a book…” campaign.

When asked why this initiative was important, here’s what they had to say:

“For those of us who are able to support it, it’s a really simple way to get a book into a child’s hands,” Everett said.

“I think we’re helping to level the playing field and we’re creating access areas where they didn’t exist before. And initiatives like this can help everyone have equal access to all the books out there, which is very important,” Fails said.

“You see a lot of kids on their phones, I don’t see a lot of kids reading these days. So I think it’s really important to bring them back into that mindset that reading is fundamental, reading is important,” Lomax said.

“As a city and as adults in this city, we need to do our part to make sure our kids are prepared for the future, and that starts with getting them to love reading,” Reed said.

If you would like to donate money to the “If you give a book to a child…” campaign, Click here.

The artists’ books are available on the links below: