Author reads his book to a grade school class

Author Partnerships

Support for Students' Mental Health and Wellness

Lead to Read KC believes in “Reading For Life,” and we are using our literacy platform to promote positive mental health strategies, as well as physical health and wellness, through our author visit program.

We partner with four local children’s authors to provide interactive read-alouds that help build self esteem, teach coping skills and otherwise support social-emotional learning among the students at our partner schools.


It may not be obvious why a literacy-focused organization is interested in mental health and wellness. Listen to our authors explain how students equipped with positive mental health strategies are more prepared learners:


Nikiyah Crosdale

Nikiyah Crosdale

The Thought Jar

“My thoughts become my actions. My actions become my reality.” This powerful message about the impact of positive thinking is at the heart of Nikiyah’s book, The Thought Jar. Her interactive read-alouds include each student making their own thought jar.

Kristen Heath

Kristen Heath

We're All Weird!

Kristen’s colorful and energetic book We’re All Weird encourages inclusivity, kindness and respect by reminding children to look past what they see on the outside and accept those around them by embracing the weird. “I hope every child who reads my book feels empowered to be their authentic, weird little selves!”

Vladimir Sainte

Vladimir Sainte

It Will Be Okay / Just Like A Hero

Vladimir is a licensed clinical social worker who has partnered with Lead to Read KC since 2018. His 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.

Tony Temple

Tony Temple

Animal Movements

Tony’s Animal Movements, created with his daughter Stori, promotes a healthy and active lifestyle from a young age in a playful way. By weaving physical activities into the narrative, children are not only entertained but also encouraged to get moving and stay fit, fostering good habits that can last a lifetime.

Online Read-Alouds

“Recently, author Nikiyah Crosdale came to read The Thought Jar with our second-grade classes and taught them about the very important skill of thinking positive thoughts. I keep a copy of the book in my office, and many kids light up when they recognize it.

One student who struggles with positive thinking has made significant improvement since being 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.'”


School Counselor, Whittier Elementary

Get Involved

We need you! There are so many ways to be part of the solution to our community’s literacy crisis. Choose to give your time or resources to Lead to Read KC.