Season 4

Episode 104: “Books Make Good Friends” April 11, 2024

“If you love a book, no doubt many other people love it, too. That shared love connects us and sparks that miraculous feeling of not being alone in the world.” Jane Mount’s illustrations of book spines, covers, beloved bookstores, fanciful libraries, and so much more, bring that world vividly to life and illustrate how, indeed, Books Make Good Friends.

  • Jane Mount

    Jane Mount is an illustrator, designer, writer, and maker of things particularly things for people who love books. She is the creator of Ideal Bookshelf; the author and illustrator of Books Make Good Friends and Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany and the illustrator and co-author of Bibliophile: Diverse Spines and My Ideal Bookshelf. (source: janemount.com)

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Episode 103: “Kate DiCamillo on Reading, Writing, and Reading Aloud” March 28, 2024

Kate DiCamillo knows books. By far one of America’s most successful children’s writers (44 million books in print, translated into 41 languages), Kate joins us to talk about how reading — and reading aloud — has made her into the reader and writer she is today. We also learn, improbably, about how even sardine tins can be speakers of truth.

  • Kate DiCamillo

    Kate DiCamillo has been awarded the Newbery Medal (Flora & Ulysses, and The Tale of Despereaux), the Newbery Honor (Because of Winn-Dixie), the Boston Globe Horn Book Award (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane), and the Theodor Geisel Medal and honor (Bink and Gollie, co-authored with Alison McGhee, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride). She is a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Emerita, appointed by the Library of Congress. A native of Florida, Kate now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (source: katedicamillo.com)

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Episode 102: “Meeting Reach Out and Read’s ‘Book Czar’” March 14, 2024

Reach Out and Read has been working on a remarkable new strategy around a key element of what we do: books! A strong approach is key to supporting our mission and as a sustainable part of how we work. Angela Cunningham, Reach Out and Read’s National Director of Books Strategy and Partnerships, joins us to talk about how we approach books, and what the future might hold.

  • Angela Cunningham

    Angela Cunningham is Reach Out and Read’s National Director of Books Strategy and Partnerships.

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Episode 99: “The Science Sessions: Lullabies and Language” March 7, 2024

  • Giovanni Di Liberto, PhD

    Giovanni Di Liberto, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Intelligent Systems at the School of Computer Science and Statistics at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience at The University of Dublin. (source: Di Liberto Lab)

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Episode 101: “Leo Lionni: Storyteller, Artist, Designer” February 29, 2024

Leo Lionni changed the picture book landscape with beloved titles such as Frederick, Swimmy, and A Color of His Own. But those books are just a small window into his extensive career as a graphic designer, painter, and a master of fine art.  Annie Lionni, Leo’s granddaughter, and Leonard Marcus, a children’s book historian, join us to talk about the life and art of Leo Lionni as shared in their new book “Leo Lionni: Storyteller, Artist, Designer.”

  • Annie Lionni

    Annie Lionni is Leo Lionni’s granddaughter and works to protect and preserve his legacy as an artist. She has helped to organize international exhibitions of Leo’s art, and established relationships with museums holding his work, including the Eric Carle Museum of Children’s Book Art, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Itabashi Museum in Tokyo. (source: Leo Lionni book)

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  • Leonard Marcus

    Leonard Marcus is one of the world’s foremost authorities on children’s books and the people who create them. He is the author or editor of more than 25 award winning books on children’s literature, a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review, among many other publications. He teaches at New York University and the School of Visual Arts, and lectures world-wide. (source: Leo Lionni book)

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Episode 100: “Randolph Caldecott: The Artist Behind the Medal” February 15, 2024

You’ve likely heard of the Caldecott Medal. But how much do you know about Caldecott himself and his revolutionary work?  Barbara McClintock and Michelle Markel, illustrator and writer, respectively, of Tomfoolery! Randolph Caldecott and the Rambunctious Coming of Age of Children’s Books, join us to talk about Caldecott’s art as a turning point in the history of children’s books, and the enduring influence he’s had on picture books ever since.

  • Barbara McClintock

    Barbara McClintock has written and illustrated over 40 books for children, including her highly acclaimed Adele & Simon series. Her books have received five New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Awards, three ALA Notable Children’s Book citations, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award honor, and two Golden Kite honors as well as many other accolades, best book selections, and starred review. (source: Tomfoolery! book cover)

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  • Michelle Markel

    Michelle Markel writes informative, enjoyable children’s books at her home in Los Angeles, California. She’s the author of Tyrannosaurus Math (a CCBC Choices Reading List selection), The Fantastic Jungles of Henry Rousseau (a PEN/Steven Kroll Award winner), and Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909 (a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winner, among many others).  (source: Tomfoolery! book cover)

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Episode 98: “What is the Institute of Museum and Library Services?” February 1, 2024

Crosby Kemper, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, joins us to explain the role of the federal government in the support and empowerment of America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. His careful stewardship and deep thoughts around how we protect and promote these incredible American civic institutions are evident in this far-reaching conversation.

  • Crosby Kemper

    Crosby Kemper is the sixth director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. He was commissioned by the White House on January 24, 2020, following his confirmation by the United States Senate. IMLS, an independent government agency, is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s museums and libraries. Kemper is a dedicated advocate for education and learning for people of all ages and backgrounds. He comes to IMLS from the Kansas City Public Library, where as director, he established the library as one of the city’s leading cultural destinations and a hub of community engagement. Kemper also recently served as chair of the board of directors of the Schools, Health, & Libraries Broadband Coalition, which supports open, affordable broadband connections for local community organizations. His board service has included the Kansas City Symphony, the Black Archives of Mid-America, Union Station Kansas City, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the Rabbit hole — a center promoting children’s books — and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which operates Monticello. (source: IMLS.gov)

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Episode 97: “Peter Brown and The Wild Robot” January 18, 2024

Writing for children – especially books that can be emotionally challenging – requires a great deal of insight, honestly, talent, and self reflection; and that’s before you even pick up the pencil! Peter Brown, author of The Wild Robot, a beautifully crafted and deeply moving middle grade novel about technology, nature, and family, joins us to talk about his approach to this work.

  • Peter Brown

    In addition to being the author of The Wild Robot series, he has written and illustrated many books for children and earned numerous honors, including a Caldecott Honor, a Horn Book Award, two E.B. White Awards, two E.B. White Honors, a Children’s Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year, two Irma Black Honors, a Golden Kite Award, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award and multiple New York Times bestsellers. (source: P. Brown website)

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Episode 96: “Early Relational Health: Proven and Simple” January 11, 2024

A new report from Harvard University and the Burke Foundation reinforces what we have long known at Reach Out and Read: simple, well-delivered initiatives to support early relational health have proven and profoundly beneficial results for children and their families. Dr. Junlei Li, lead author of the report and co-chair of the Human Development and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, joins us to discuss how we can understand and support the work of those on the educational and social service front lines who serve children and families — and at home.

  • Junlei Li

    Junlei Li, PhD, is the co-chair of the Human Development and Education Program and the Saul Zaentz senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.  His research and practice focuses on understanding and supporting the work of helpers — those who serve children and families on the frontlines of education and social services. Li studied and learned from a wide range of developmental settings with low resources but high-quality practices, including orphanages, childcare, classrooms, and community youth programs. He developed the “Simple Interactions” approach to help identify what ordinary people do extraordinarily well with children in everyday moments and made that the basis for promoting positive system change.  (source: Harvard GSE website)

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Episode 93: “The New Brownies’ Book” January 4, 2024

In 1920, as Black art and writing flourished during the Harlem Renaissance, W.E.B. Du Bois created the first magazine aimed specifically at Black youth. Titled “The Brownies’ Book: A Monthly Magazine for Children of the Sun,” the magazine featured celebrated Black creatives of the time. Nearly 100 years later, Dr. Karida Brown and Charly Palmer have revived and expanded upon Du Bois’ work to “showcase new art and writing for children” and created and published “The New Brownies’ Book: A Love Letter to Black Families.”

  • Dr. Karida Brown

    Dr. Karida Brown is a professor, oral historian, and writer whose research centers on the race, historical transformations, and the fullness of black life. Dr. Brown previously served as the Diane Nash Descendants of Emancipation Chair at Fisk University’s John Lewis Center for Social Justice, and the inaugural Director of Racial Equity & Action for the Los Angeles Lakers. She’s currently a professor of sociology at Emory University.

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  • Charly Palmer

    Charly Palmer is an award-winning fine artist and illustrator. His artwork bears witness to African ancestry and contemporary experiences, from his paintings to his illustrated children’s books, which include The Teachers March! How Selma’s Teachers Changed History, The Legend of Gravity, and Keep Your Head Up. Palmer’s paintings can be found in major museums, sports stadiums, and private personal and corporate collections.

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Episode 95: “Children’s Books for Times of Crisis” December 21, 2023

A core role of parents and caregivers is to help children make sense of an often-challenging world around them. Miriam Udel, professor of German and Jewish Studies at Emory University, joins us to talk about how children’s books can help parents and children alike when their world is “on fire.”

  • Miriam Udel

    Miriam Udel is associate professor of German Studies and Judith London Evans Director of the Tam Institute of Jewish Studies at Emory University, where her teaching focuses on Yiddish language, literature, and culture. She holds an AB in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and a PhD in Comparative Literature, both from Harvard University. She was ordained in 2019 as part of the first cohort of the Executive Ordination Track at Yeshivat Maharat, a program designed to bring qualified mid-career women into the Orthodox Jewish rabbinate. (source: M. Udel)

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Episode 92: “Untangling the Thread of Racism” December 7, 2023

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recognized that the world outside the walls of hospitals and clinics has a major impact on the health of children. A new book from the Academy, “Untangling the Thread of Racism”, aims to be a thoughtful, practical, and hands-on resource that addresses many aspects of this important but challenging topic. Dr. Jacqueline Dougé, a general pediatrician, public health practitioner, and one of the editors of the book, joins us to talk about how health professionals can address racism and race-related issues in their practices.

  • Dr. Jacqueline Dougé

    Dr. Jacqueline Dougé is a general pediatrician and public health practitioner, an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Hood College’s Department of Nursing, and has held numerous roles in the health sector. She has served on the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Community Pediatrics Prevention and Public Health Special Interest Group as co-chair, as a member of the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, a member of the AAP News Editorial Board, and as a co-author of the transformative policy statement, “The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health.”  Dr. Dougé is an editor of the AAP’s recently published book “Untangling the Thread of Racism”.  (AAP)

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Episode 94: “Stories of Gratitude” November 22, 2023

We’re thankful to every person who reads aloud to a child. To mark this holiday devoted to giving thanks, we’re bringing back an episode we recorded during the pandemic. We asked three children’s authors — Traci Sorell, Ann Clare LeZotte, and Dr Sayantani DasGupta — to read aloud their own stories of gratitude, and we’re grateful to share those stories with you again. Click here for complete show transcripts.

  • Traci Sorell

    Cherokee Nation citizen and award-winning Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction books, short stories and poems for young people. A former federal Indian law attorney and advocate, she lives with her family within her tribe’s reservation in northeastern Oklahoma. You can find out more about her work online at www.tracisorell.com and @tracisorell via Twitter and Instagram.

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  • Ann Clare LeZotte

    Ann Clare LeZotte is the author of Show Me a Sign (a 2020 School Library Journal Book of the Year, four starred reviews) and a forthcoming companion novel. A long-time youth services librarian who focused on underserved populations and inclusion, Ann is Deaf, bi-lingual, and bi-cultural. “I never had a romance about being ‘special’ or ‘different,’” she says. “I wished long and hard to be normal, a waste of time and a heartbreak I don’t want other young people to experience.” In her free time, Ann enjoys swimming and walking her dog, Perkins. She lives with her family in Gainesville, Florida.

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  • Sayantani DasGupta

    Sayantani DasGupta is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed, Bengali folktale and string theory-inspired Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond books, the first of which—The Serpent’s Secret—was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Best Middle Grade Novel of the 21st Century, and an EB White Read Aloud Honor Book. Sayantani is a pediatrician by training, but now teaches at Columbia University. When she’s not writing or reading, Sayantani spends time watching cooking shows with her trilingual children and protecting her black Labrador retriever Khushi from the many things that scare him, including plastic bags. She is a team member of We Need Diverse Books, and can be found online at sayantanidasgupta.com and on Twitter at @sayantani16.

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Episode 91: “Talk Baby Talk!” November 9, 2023

Reach Out and Read has commissioned and published its first children’s book, Talk Baby Talk! In an effort to increase access to books that are representative of families from all races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds, this book is reflective of Reach Out and Read’s mission, which focuses on the parent/caregiver-child relationship through daily reading. We discuss with Alex Chu, Executive Director for Reach Out and Read Northeast, author Tricia Elam Walker, and illustrator Cbabi Bayoc, about where the idea for the book came from, how the book was crafted, and how it can help families in ways that other books may not.

  • Tricia Elam Walker

    Tricia Elam Walker is an award-winning author, attorney, and educator.  Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Essence and many other publications, and she is the author of the award winning books “Nana Akua Goes to School” and “Dream Street”. Her latest book is Talk Baby Talk.

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  • Cbabi Bayoc

    Cbabi Bayoc is an internationally known artist whose work has appeared in New York Times bestsellers, magazines, on a record album, and in the pages of Ibram X. Kendi’s children’s book Goodnight Racism.  His recent book is Talk Baby Talk.

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  • Alex Chu

    Alex Chu is the Executive Director for Reach Out and Read Northeast.

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Episode 90: “The Science Sessions: Research through Learning Networks” November 2, 2023

Reach Out and Read, in partnership with Columbia University, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the Institute for Child Success, is proudly embarking on the first national longitudinal study of early relational health. Tyson Barker, Chief Science & Innovation Officer at ICS joins us to talk about how the study will incorporate end-user design to learn best how to promote nurturing early relationships between young children and their caregivers.

  • Tyson Barker

    Tyson Barker directs ICS’s science and innovation strategy by developing innovative tools and strategic initiatives that scale the impact of early childhood programs and policies. He also consults with government, nonprofits, and foundations around measurement and evaluation. Tyson received his PhD in Human Development from the University of Maryland, MA in Special Education and Risk Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and BA in Psychology from the University of California, Davis. (source: ICS)

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Episode 89: “Reading Sad Books Is Good for Your Kids” October 26, 2023

Children’s books should not only offer “windows and mirrors” into other cultures, races, and religions, but into a range of feelings and emotions. Craig Fehrman, author of a recent essay in The New York Times titled “Reading Sad Books Is Good for Your Kids”, joins us to talk about the importance of creating, sharing, and discussing children’s books that mix the “tragedy and joy that define great art and also real life.

  • Craig Fehrman

    Craig Fehrman is a writer and historian who, in addition to his new book Authors in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote, has written several pieces for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. His essay, “Reading Sad Books Is Good for Your Kids”, was recently published in The New York Times.

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Episode 88, – “Gibberish”, October 12, 2023

Moving to a new country is a challenge for everyone, but especially so for children. New immigrants often face pressure to assimilate quickly — to ‘dress like us’ and talk ‘like us’ — and stop speaking the languages that ‘don’t make sense’ to our ears. Young Vo, author of the new children’s picture book “Gibberish” joins us to discuss these common tropes and says it’s not the newcomer that’s speaking “gibberish”; it’s us.

  • Young Vo

    Young Vo is an artist who learned to draw before he could write. He drew a lot of characters, then began to write stories for them. There were not many job choices that he could make, so he decided to be an animator and an award-winning author and illustrator. Now he writes and draws his stories before the sun rises, then during the day, he animates.  His most recent book, “Gibberish”, is a widely acclaimed children’s picture book about a young immigrant struggling to connect in a new language. (Source: youngvoart.com)

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Episode 87, – “Thinking Sideways to Solve Problems”, September 28, 2023

“Think sideways” isn’t just a catch phrase – applied thoughtfully, small changes in mindset and approach can have a big impact. Anthony Barrows, Managing Partner and Founder at the Center for Behavioral Design and Social Justice at Project Evident, joins us to share his research—informed often by his own life story—into how applied behavioral science can help us successfully solve big problems.

  • Anthony Barrows

    Anthony Barrows, Managing Partner and Founder, Center for Behavioral Design and Social Justice, is a jack of all trades and a master of some, with a background in behavioral design, child welfare, public policy, and fine arts. As someone with personal experience of foster care, public housing, juvenile justice, and safety net programs, Anthony brings lived expertise to his systems change work in the nonprofit and public sectors. He spent almost 9 years at the applied behavioral science firm ideas42, where he led the economic-justice portfolio, and over 10 years in child welfare, spanning positions from direct service to system improvement. Anthony is a 2018 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow, and holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Gleitsman Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership, an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and a BA from UMass Boston. (source: Project Evident)


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Episode 86, – “Translating Children’s Books”, September 14, 2023

How hard could it be to translate a children’s book — they are mostly pictures and so few words, after all? It’s not so simple, it turns out. Daniel Hahn, a writer, editor, and literary translator who has translated hundreds of adult and children’s books alike joins us to break down the artistry and nuance that goes into successfully translating children’s picture books.

  • Daniel Hahn

    Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor, literary translator, and the author of “Catching Fire: A Translation Diary.”


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Episode 85, – “The Science Sessions: Reach Out and Read Impact Study”, September 7, 2023

The Science Sessions, a new feature from the Reach Out and Read Podcast, examines and explains important research on early relational health, early literacy, and more. In this inaugural episode, Dr. Marny Dunlap and Callee Boulware join us to discuss how a new study shows exposure to Reach Out and Read increases caregiver reading frequency and improves behaviors.

  • Dr. Marny Dunlap

    Dr. Marny Dunlap is a Professor of Pediatrics and section chief for the Section of General and Community Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and the medical director for Reach Out and Read Oklahoma. (source: Dr. Dunlap)


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  • Callee Boulware

    Callee Boulware has been the Regional Director of Reach Out and Read in NC, SC, VA, and DC since 2001. Over the past 22 years, the Reach Out and Read regional team has expanded its reach to more than 750 clinical locations across NC, SC, VA, and DC serving more than 500,000 children birth-5 years old each year. Callee leads a staff of 20 committed Reach Out and Read regional team members, and works with their Reach Out and Read Advisory Board and local, state, regional, and national partners. (source: C. Boulware)

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Episode 84, – “Once Upon a Time …”, August 31, 2023

“The literary tradition of the fairy tale has long endured as the vehicle by which we interrogate the laws of reality.” Sabrina Orah Mark, author of the new book “Happily” and an award-winning writer and columnist for The Paris Review, joins the podcast to talk about how fairy tales shape — and reflect — our world, in childhood and beyond.

  • Sabrina Orah Mark

    Sabrina Orah Mark is an award-winning fiction writer and poet who has written the column “Happily” for The Paris Review since 2018. She is the author of Wild Milk, a collection of fiction, as well as two collections of poetry, The Babies and Tsim Tsim. (source: “Happily” book jacket)

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Episode 83, – “Pictured Worlds”, August 17, 2023

Illustrated children’s books capture the imagination of children and adults alike like no other art form. Leonard Marcus, one of the world’s preeminent authorities on children’s books and their creators, joins us to talk about “the special nature of the illustrated children’s book as a cultural enterprise that is at once rewarding art form, a bridge across cultures, and a ladder between generations.

  • Leonard Marcus

    Leonard Marcus’s pathfinding writings and exhibitions have earned him acclaim as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on children’s books and the people who create them. He is the author of more than 25 award-winning biographies, histories, interview collections, and inside looks at the making of children’s literature’s enduring classics. His reviews and commentary have been featured in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, The Horn Book, and on numerous radio and television programs including Good Morning America, All Things Considered, PBS NewsHour, BBC Radio 4, CBC As It Happens, Beijing Television, and Radio New Zealand, among others. His latest book is Pictured Worlds: Masterpieces of Children’s Book Art by 101 Essential Illustrators from Around the World. (source: L. Marcus website)

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Research shows reading physical books together brings the strongest benefits to children. That’s why we’re happy to have Boise Paper – a responsible paper manufacturer – sponsor this podcast. Through their Paper with Purpose promise, Boise Paper looks for ways to make a difference in local communities. Thank you to Boise Paper for investing in our Reach Out and Read community.