The Power of Positivity – USA TODAY Magazine Article Debuts – Reading Resources Here and There!

THRILLED to share that my new article with USA TODAY Magazines, “Power of Positivity,” on the best ways to teach children to read, is out! It’s on grocery store and CVS newstands, and available for purchase on their website, Comes with a partial reading list for ages attending preK-12, and key confidence-boosting phrases. Find the entire list below. Many THANKS to the editorial team for the opportunity and for such a fabulous presentation, and to all the teachers, students, and parents who agreed to be interviewed!

11 Phrases to Strengthen Relationships, Help Children Gain Confidence/ Release Tension

  1. How can I help you?
  2. How do you feel?
  3. I need your help.
  4. Thank you for your help.
  5. I want you to succeed.
  6. I believe in you.
  7. I care about you.
  8. You can do it. I’ll help you.
  9. We would love for you to join us. Will you?
  10. Feel free to stop reading/writing until you’re ready again.

Enjoyable Bonding Books for Children at All Age/Grade Levels


  • Please, Baby, Please by Tanya and Spike Lee
  • Girl of Mine by Jabari Asim
  • We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp
  • Welcome to the Party by Gabrielle Union
  • Peek-a-Boo Morning by Rachel Isadora
  • Elmo Book: Eyes & Nose, Fingers & Toes
  • I Love You, Daddy by Laura Watkins
  • I Love You, Mommy: Full of Love and Hugs by Melanie Joyce


  • Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
  • You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard
  • What is Light? Markette Sheppard
  • Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale by Majuan Canady
  • Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.

Lower Elementary

  • Human Kindness: True Stories of Compassion and Generosity that Changed the World
    by John Francis
  • One More Dino on the Floor by Kelly Starling Lyons
  • Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words  by Karen Leggett Abouraya
  • Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham
  • Still This Love Goes On (Book and Song) by Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan
  • Definitely Dominguita by Terry Catasus Jennings
  • I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
  • A Story About Afiya by James Berry
  • Say Their Names by Caroline Brewer

Middle Grade/Upper Elementary

  • Forever This Summer by Leslie C. Youngblood
  • Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood
  • Darius Daniels: Game On! by Caroline Brewer
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Blood Brothers by Rob Sanders
  • Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
  • The Whale Child by Keith Egawa
  • When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten
  • Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein
  • When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Middle School

  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • Voices of the People by Joseph Bruchac
  • Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • Carlos Gomez Freestyles by Chuck Gonzales
  • Suncatcher (A Graphic Novel) by Jose Pimienta
  • I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib
  • The Way Back by Gavriel Savit
  • All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker

Young Adult/High School

  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
  • The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
  • When You Wish Upon a Lantern by Gloria Cho
  • Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
  • Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
    by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman 
  • Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Resources on Effective Literacy Instruction/School and Home

Parent Power: How to Raise a Reading Superstar by Caroline Brewer