A Month of Reading on the Rug

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In honor of National Reading Month, Children’s Aid is celebrating the most critical time for children to develop strong reading and literacy skills: early childhood. Children’s vocabulary as early as age 3 can predict their third-grade reading achievement. However, many children from lower-income households can hear 30 million fewer words by age 3 than those from higher-income households. A simple and fun way intervention to keep children engaged at home happens to be story time.

We have teamed up with prominent, award-winning children’s authors for our inaugural “Reading on the Rug” series throughout March. Ten authors will read their original works to the 3-5 year olds in our early childhood classes to celebrate the importance of story time and reading to children regularly. Chosen books will also explore identity, diversity, and community—themes that will create strong foundations for our little ones’ ever-growing intellectual curiosity and help cement their love of reading early.

We’ve listed the authors and their works below, and we will be posting pictures of their readings at our sites throughout March. You can also join us at home by following our “Reading on the Rug” series on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Show us what you’re reading with your young ones: post pictures or video of story time and tag us @childrensaidnyc #ReadingOnTheRug.

We look forward to reading on the rug with you!

Yangsook Choi started drawing at age 4, and loved telling her grandma stories. Born and raised in Korea, she moved to New York to study art. She has written and illustrated many books for young readers, which have been acclaimed as "Best of the Best" by the Chicago Public Library, included on the American Library Association Notable Book list, selected by PBS Reading Rainbow. Yangsook has received the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award.

Nina Crews uses photography and collage to create distinctive picture books. Her stories draw inspiration from the children and neighborhoods of Brooklyn – her home for more than 25 years. Her books have received rave reviews and been selected by the Junior Library Guild, ALA Notable Committee, and Bank Street College of Education. Her latest books are “The Neighborhood Sing-Along” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City, grew up in the great state of Texas, and lived in San Francisco. She’s the author and illustrator of “Let’s Go Hugo!,” “Santiago Stays,” “Knit Together,” and “Maria Had a Little Llama,” which received the American Library Association Pura Belpré Illustration Honor.

Zetta Elliott was born in Canada and moved to the U.S. in 1994. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. She is the author of more than 20 books for young readers, including the award-winning picture book “Bird.” Zetta is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing.

Thyra Heder is the author of “Fraidyzoo,” an ALA-ALSC Notable Book, “The Bear Report,” and the forthcoming “Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared),” a picture book about the friendship between a girl and her pet turtle told from both points of view, available fall 2017. She is also an illustrator and storyboard artist for film and advertising and lives in Brooklyn.

Teddy Lykouretzos is 10 (1/2) years old and lives in Manhattan. He is currently in fourth grade. In his spare time, Teddy loves to bake, complete Technic Lego sets, read science fiction books, and practice yoga. Teddy also loves to ride his bike on trails, swim, kayak, and fly drones. Before Teddy turned 10, he wrote his first book, “The Absolute Best Guide for Stuffed Animal Caretaking.” He not only wrote the entire book by himself, but he also was the photographer for the book. Teddy has recently started writing his second book.

Christopher Silas Neal is an award-winning author and illustrator of picture books. His first book with Kate Messner, “Over and Under the Snow,” was praised for its "stunning retro-style illustrations" (New York Times), and was a 2011 New York Times Editor's Choice and an E.B. White Honoree in 2012. Christopher’s author debut titled “Everyone” was praised by Publisher's Weekly as "simple, honest, lyrical."

Evan Turk is the award-winning illustrator of the “Grandfather Gandhi” books and the author/illustrator of “The Storyteller.” Originally from Colorado, he now lives in the Hudson River Valley and loves traveling and learning about other cultures through drawing.

James Yang was born in Oklahoma and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA degree in communication arts and design. James has won over 250 awards for design and illustration excellence including best of show from 3×3 Magazine. James currently lives in Brooklyn where he happily works for a variety of clients worldwide, both book publishers and animators.

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