Season 2

Episode 53, How the Human Brain Learned to Read, June 23, 2022

The human brain doesn’t come wired to read. Remarkably, recognizing, decoding, and comprehending a single word takes many different repurposed brain circuits working together.  Dr. Maryanne Wolf, Dir. of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA breaks down the science of the reading brain — from the neuroscientific importance of oral language, to recognizing the alphabet, reading words, and ultimately, the experience of novel thought while reading.

  • Dr. Maryanne Wolf

    Dr. Maryanne Wolf is a scholar, teacher, and advocate for children and literacy around the world. She is the Director of the newly created Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. She is the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain; Dyslexia, Fluency, and the Brain; Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century, and Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World, and over 160 research publications. The recipient of the highest awards for research and teaching from multiple professional organizations, Dr. Wolf was recently elected to the Pontifical Academy of Science.

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Episode 52, Food is Love. Or is it?, June 9, 2022

Feeding and being fed isn’t merely a nutritional transaction — it’s also an emotional and relational act inexorably linked to the act of caring. Dr. Natalie Muth, a pediatrician and founder and director of the Children’s Primary Care Medical Group W.E.L.L. clinic, joins us to talk about how we can navigate the challenges of eating with children, and how it fits into early relational health.

Episode 51 – Wonder: What it Means for Childhood, May 26, 2022

Young children are born with a natural sense of wonder: an instinctual and powerful drive to explore and learn about their world. Dr. Frank Keil, professor of Psychology at Yale University and author of the new book “Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science”, joins us to talk about young children and how to recognize, encourage—and, perhaps even more importantly—not to stifle it as they get older.

  • Dr. Frank Keil

    Dr. Frank Keil is a professor of Psychology at Yale University and a member of the Cognition and Development Lab.  Dr. Keil is the author of several books including Developmental Psychology: The Growth of Mind and Behavior.  His latest book is Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science

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Episode 50 – Child Poverty in the US: Causes, Effects, and Solutions, May 12, 2022

Child poverty is a problem that’s much closer to home than many of us realize, with over a third of US children living in poverty at some point in their childhood.  Dr. Benard Dreyer, Director of Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital and one of the strongest voices in pediatrics on this issue, joins us to talk about the long and short term effects of child poverty and what we can do to alleviate it.

  • Dr. Benard Dreyer

    Dr. Benard Dreyer is a general and Development-Behavioral pediatrician who has spent his professional lifetime serving poor children and families. Professor of Pediatrics at NYU, he leads the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and is Director of Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital. He is also the Vice Chair in Pediatrics for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He is a Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and is currently serving as the AAP’s Medical Director for Policies. Dr. Dreyer served as a member of the committee that authored the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report “A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty”. For over 40 years he has led a primary care program at Bellevue, including co-located mental and oral health services and clinics in homeless shelters. His research is focused on interventions in primary care to improve early childhood outcomes, including early brain development, school readiness, improving the nurturing home environment and parenting, as well as obesity. As AAP President, he led the AAP’s Strategic Priority on Poverty and Child Health. Dr. Dreyer was president of the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), and founded the APA Task Force on Childhood Poverty and the APA Research Scholars Program. He is the recipient of many awards, including the NYU university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award (2017), the AAP’s prestigious Clifford C. Grulee Award (2019), the APA Public Policy and Advocacy Award (2014), the APA Armstrong Lectureship Award (2019), and the New York Academy of Medicine Millie and Richard Brock Lectureship Award (2019). He has over 100 peer-reviewed research publications. Dr. Dreyer also hosts a weekly radio show, “On-Call for Kids”, on Sirius-XM.

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Episode 49 – Building A Parent Nation, April 28, 2022

How can we support children? By supporting their parents – particularly during the most critical years of their children’s development. Dr. Dana Suskind, author of the new book “Parent Nation”, joins us to explain how through a combination of interdisciplinary science and large-scale advocacy we can build a society where parents – and as a result their children – are supported in all aspects of life.

  • Dr. Dana Suskind

    Dr. Dana Suskind is Founder and Co-Director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program, and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. She is the author of over 45 scientific publications and the 2015 book Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the Academy’s Council on Early Childhood.  She is an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s Too Small to Fail initiative and her work has been profiled by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, The Economist, Forbes, NPR, and Freakonomics.  Dr. Suskind’s latest book, Parent Nation, takes a new look at the neuroscience of early childhood development and how it can guide us toward a future in which every child has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

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Episode 48 – Kids and the Metaverse, April 14, 2022

The ‘metaverse’ is the latest tech buzzword. But what in the world is it? Josh Golin, Executive Director at Fairplay, joins us to take a closer look at what it is, what it means for kids, and how parents can identify and navigate online design that targets kids.

  • Josh Golin

    Josh Golin, Executive Director of Fairplay, the nation’s leading independent watchdog of the children’s media and marketing industries. Through corporate campaigns and strategic legal filings, Fairplay has changed the marketing practices of some of the world’s most powerful companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Disney. Currently, Fairplay is leading Designed with Kids in Mind, a campaign to demand new regulations to protect children online.

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Episode 47 – Adoption: A Family Journey, March 31, 2022

Adoption is a very common route to becoming a parent; yet, many don’t know how to talk about it, and know little about adoption.  And even those strongly considering adoption have many questions and worries.  Today we’re talking with leading adoption medical specialist Dr. Elaine Schulte about what non-adoptive and adoptive parents should know about attachment, family integration, and the language in and around adoption.

  • Dr. Elaine Schulte

    Dr. Elaine Schulte is one of the leading adoption medical experts in the country, having founded one of the earliest, comprehensive adoption programs in the early 1990’s.  She is the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and Professor of Pediatrics. She directs the Adoption Program and provides pre-adoption consultation, post-adoption evaluations and ongoing medical care for adopted children and their families.  Dr. Schulte is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care. She is the author of “Caring for Your Adopted Child; An Essential Guide for Parents” published by the AAP.  She has created clinical guidelines and educational programs for pediatricians and adoption agencies and has given numerous national presentations. She has two daughters adopted from China.

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Episode 46 – Child Refugees: What it Means to Leave a Home, March 17, 2022

If you’re a refugee, you’re disproportionately likely to be a child — and coping with many challenges that you’re developmentally unprepared to handle. Dr. Sherri Alderman and Ana Maria Dudley join us to discuss the consequences of war and displacement on children, and how we can help immediately improve – and ultimately sustain – refugee children’s physical, mental, and behavioral health.

  • Sherri L. Alderman, MD, MPH, IMHM-E®, FAAP

    Sherri L. Alderman, MD, MPH, IMHM-E®, FAAP, is faculty at Portland State University and a board certified Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician with over 10 years of experience in clinical and policy work in infant mental health. She has infant mental health Endorsement® at the highest level (mentor) in both clinical and policy. Dr. Alderman is Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Early Childhood and teaches at Portland State University. She is an AAP Early Childhood Champion in Oregon, CDC Act Early Ambassador to Oregon, and received national distinction as the first National Help Me Grow Physician Champion. She serves on the Oregon state government advisory council to the Oregon Health Authority Behavioral Health Division and is Past President of the Oregon Infant Mental Health Association. She was principal investigator for the Nurturing Healthy Attachment project promoting secure attachment with incarcerated mothers. Currently, Dr. Alderman is principal investigator on the Act Early Oregon COVID Parent Mentor Project focused on empowering migrant and seasonal farm-working communities.

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  • Ana Maria Dudley

    Ana Maria Dudley, a PeaceHealth Community Health Worker and South Lane School District Peggy’s Primary Connection Family Resource Center Coordinator. For over 20 years, Ana Maria has helped families navigate complex medical systems, find local resources such as WIC, food banks, housing, and taught child development and parenting classes. An immigrant herself, Ana Maria moved to the United States from war-torn El Salvador in 1980. Since then, she has received several awards for her community work, including for her support and advocacy on behalf of the Guatemalan community in Cottage Grove, Oregon

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Episode 45 – Early Math Part 2: Building a Math Picture Book, March 3, 2022

We take a closer look at early math picture books themselves in Part 2 of our series on the topic. Robie Harris, author of Crash! Boom!, and Hilary Van Dusen, Senior Editor at Candlewick Press, explore with us the writing, design, and craft behind these books, and how early math principles lead into compelling stories for young children.

  • Robie H. Harris

    Robie H. Harris has written award-winning and internationally acclaimed picture books, board books and nonfiction books and is known for writing about serious issues with honesty, understanding, and humor. Among her works are the board books, Who? A Celebration of Babies and Look! Babies Head to Toe and several picture books including Somewhere, Crash Boom! A Math Tale, winner of the prestigious Mathical Book Prize Award awarded by Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Children’s Book Council. Other picture books include Now What? A Math Tale, Maybe a Bear Ate It!, When Lions Roar, Goodbye Mousie, It’s Not the Stork!, Who We Are!, Who Has What?; Who’s In My Family?, What’s In There? and What’s So Yummy?.

    Her books have also received Distinguished Alumni Award from the Bank Street College of Education; the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Nonfiction Award and other distinguished awards. Harris has given keynotes about her work across the U.S. and U.K, including at The U.S. Library of Congress’ Center for the Book, and has given grand rounds at The Yale Study Center and the NYU Child Study Center. She and historian Leonard Marcus were featured on Reach Out and Read’s third podcast “What Meaning do Children’s Books have in the time of Crisis?” She is the recipient of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Foundation’s 2021 Role of Honor Award. Further information: www.robieharris.com.

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  • Hilary B. Van Dusen

    Hilary B. Van Dusen is a Senior Executive Editor at Candlewick Press and the editorial lead on the MIT Kids Press and MITeen Press imprints focused on inspiring STEAM books for the next generation of designers, inventors, scientific thinkers, and leaders.  She is the editor of award-winning nonfiction titles including Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels by Tanya Lee Stone; Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo; Picturing a Nation: The Great Depression’s Finest Photographers Introduce America to Itself by Martin W. Sandler; Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez;  updates to It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris; and Alan Lightman’s picture book Ada and the Galaxies, illustrated by Susanna Chapman. 

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Episode 44 – Early Math Part 1: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?, February 17, 2022

We know that reading aloud promotes everything from language enrichment to emotional intelligence, but did you know that it also helps with learning math? Marlene Kliman, Sr. Scientist at TERC, and Kim Brenneman, Program Officer for the Heising-Simons Foundation, join us to talk about the foundational principles of early math, how that comes through in picture books for young children, and the importance of investing in early math for all communities. 

  • Marlene Kliman


    Marlene Kliman – In over 25 years at STEM education nonprofit TERC, Marlene has led national-scale research and development projects involving mathematics learning in public libraries, after-school programs, community-based child care settings, family homes, and other informal learning environments. Her projects have been funded by public and private agencies including National Science Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the IBM Work/Life Fund. She has directed development of and served as lead writer for mathematics resources recommended and/or adopted by National Science Digital Library, US Department of Education, the YMCA, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and many state and local education, library, and after-school and child care agencies. At present, with funding from the Heising-Simons Foundation, she is collaborating with Charlesbridge Publishing to develop fiction picture books that meld story, racial diversity, and math.


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  • Kim Brenneman

    Kimberly Brenneman, PhD, is a program officer for education at the Heising-Simons Foundation , where her grantmaking focuses on early mathematics. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2015, Kimberly was research faculty at Rutgers University’s National Institute for Early Education Research and the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science, where she led projects focused on curricular and instructional practices to foster science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning for young children in school and home settings. As an educational consultant, Kimberly has contributed to the development of educational media resources to support preschool-aged math and science learners including Sid the Science Kid and Curious George and has been an adviser to PBS’s Ready to Learn initiative. She is co-author of Connect4Learning (C4L), a comprehensive preschool curriculum in use in classrooms across the country, of Preschool Pathways to Science: Facilitating Scientific Ways of Thinking, Talking, Doing, and Understanding (2010), and of Teaching STEM in the Preschool Classroom (2019).

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Episode 43 –Meet Marty Martinez, Reach Out and Read’s New CEO , February 7, 2022

Breaking News:  We’re pleased to introduce Reach Out and Read’s new Chief Executive Officer, Marty Martinez! He joins today’s podcast to share the personal and professional journey that led him to us, and what he’s looking forward to in his new position. Click here to learn more about Marty.

Episode 42 – Co-Parenting Through Separation and Divorce, February 3, 2022

When faced with divorce or separation, a couple that had trouble agreeing when they were together now need to agree on parenting when apart. Dr. David Hill, co-author of “Co-parenting Through Separation and Divorce: Putting Your Children First” joins us to talk about how to help parents get to a positive space for both themselves and their children, and how parenting decisions based on children’s best interests is a formula for success.

  • Dr. David Hill

    Dr. David Hill, pediatrician, best-selling author, speaker, and host of the AAP‘s Pediatrics On Call podcast. Former chair of the AAP Council on Communications and Media, current member of the AAP Council Management Committee, Adjunct Assistant Professor of pediatrics at UNC School of Medicine, and a hospitalist pediatrician at Goldsboro Pediatrics in North Carolina.  Dr. Hill is also the Associate Medical Editor of the AAP’s bestselling book Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, Associate Editor of Pediatric Care Online Patient Education, and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro. His most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Jann Blackstone, is Co-parenting Through Separation and Divorce: Putting Your Children First. 

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Episode 41 – NICU Part 2: What To Do and How To Do It, January 20, 2022

NICU reading programs and their effect on babies, their families, and the medical staff who implement them. In Part 2 of our “Reading in the NICU” series, Dr. Viral Jain explains how these programs give parents a way to reclaim some element of their role, and how providers can offer practical reading help and guidance to NICU families.  And, a song! 

  • Dr. Viral Jain

    Dr. Viral Jain is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Neonatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.   In addition to his clinical research, Dr. Jain is interested in exploring the contribution of families to early learning and founded TinyVoices – a patient advocacy program that in turn created “NICU Bookworms”, a NICU-based Infant Reading program. Dr. Jain is the founder and co-editor of the AAP Neonatology Journal Club, and heads the Reach Out & Read – NICU initiative

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Episode 40 – Helping Kids Face Challenging Emotions, January 6, 2022

Parents love seeing their children experience feelings of joy, happiness, and success. Conversely, they often feel a desire to protect their children against feeling sadness, anxiety or a sense of loss. But is that best? And is it even possible?  Newbery award-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly and Behavioral Pediatrician Dr. Nerissa Bauer join us to discuss how to parent kids when they’re faced with challenging emotions.

  • Erin Entrada Kelly

    Erin Entrada Kelly received the 2018 Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe, a 2021 Newbery Honor for We Dream of Space, and the 2017 APALA Award for The Land of Forgotten Girls, among other honors. She is a New York Times bestseller whose work has been translated into many languages. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and liberal arts from McNeese State University and an MFA from Rosemont College. She teaches in the MFAC program at Hamline University and lives in Delaware.

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  • Dr. Nerissa Bauer

    Dr. Nerissa Bauer is a behavioral pediatrician and entrepreneur in Carmel, Indiana. She left academia in December 2018 after experiencing burnout and now has a part time behavioral health practice. She created TEACH ME ADHD, an online course for families, is host of a Facebook Live show on behavioral health & parenting, and founder of Let’s Talk Kids Health. She is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

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Episode 39 – Rachel Giannini, Early Childhood Education, December 23, 2021

Science tells us early learning is critically important, yet somehow it’s both remarkably expensive and those doing it are massively underpaid. There’s a huge divide in how we think about education before age 5 and after, and that needs to change. Rachel Giannini, childhood specialist and “a preschool teacher’s preschool teacher”, joins us to talk about the state of early education in the US today, the art of working well with small humans, and what families should look for in an early childhood center.

  • Rachel Giannini, MFA

    Rachel Giannini is a childhood specialist, an early childhood advocate, and a video blog host. She currently splits her time as a public speaker, early childhood commentator, curriculum designer, and the star of Spy School on Hellosaurus. Rachel’s writing, expertise, and videos have appeared in Vox, The New York Times, HuffPost, Child Care Exchange, and Chicago Parent. Rachel has an MFA in Museum Education from the University of Illinois and is a volunteer hospital magician for Open Heart Magic.

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Episode 38 – Paper: A Timeless Innovation, December 9, 2021

Paper! It’s everywhere and yet it’s not usually at the forefront of our thoughts.  Despite this being a podcast about reading, we haven’t really talked about paper itself, or even how it shaped the format of books.  Author and historian Mark Kurlanksy joins us to talk about the history of paper—and how technology and the transformation of information may influence what we transfer, when, and how.

  • Mark Kurlansky

    Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of Milk!, Havana, Paper, The Big Oyster, 1968, Salt, The Basque History of the World, Cod, and Salmon, among other titles. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Bon Appétit’s Food Writer of the Year Award, the James Beard Award, and the Glenfiddich Award. Mark joins us today from his home in New York City.

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Episode 37 – Banned Books and The Discomfort They Bring, November 26, 2021

Book banning is often done with the intention of “protecting children”.  But who decides what is or isn’t, okay?  And are we doing children and their families a disservice?  We are joined by Pat Scales, expert on censorship and a retired librarian, and Alex Gino, award-winning author of several banned books to discuss why books are challenged, the effects bans have, and the line between fear and intellectual freedom.

Episode 36 – The First Chapter: A Conversation with Dr. Robert Needlman, November 11, 2021

How in the world did anyone have the idea to not only talk about shared book reading in regular medical checkups for kids, but to bring in a book and use it as part of the visit?  Dr Robert Needlman, co-founder of Reach Out and Read did back in 1989, and he joins us to share the origins of this program — which has blossomed into the national program it is today.

Episode 35 – How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t A**holes, October 28, 2021

There’s no shortage of parenting advice out there.  How much is opinion, and how much is based on research evidence?  Science journalist Melinda Wenner Moyer joins us to talk about exactly that: how parents can apply evidence-based tools and techniques to raise kids who will grow up to be, well, not a**holes. Some of it has to do with learning about how kids’ brains work, and some of it has to do with looking in the mirror at our own behavior as adults.

  • Melinda Wenner Moyer

    Melinda Wenner Moyer is a contributing editor at Scientific American magazine and a regular contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, and other national magazines and newspapers. She is a faculty member in the Science, Health & Environmental Reporting program at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Her first book, How To Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes, was published in July 2021 by J.P. Putnam’s Sons.  Melinda was the recipient of the 2019 Bricker Award for Science Writing in Medicine, and her work was featured in the 2020 Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. She was also awarded a 2018 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship. Moyer’s work has won first place prizes in the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, the Folio Eddie Awards and the Annual Writing Awards of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. It has also been shortlisted for a James Beard Journalism Award, a National Academy of Sciences Communication Award and a National Magazine Award. She has a master’s in Science, Health & Environmental Reporting from NYU and a background in cell and molecular biology. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, two children, and her dog. 

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Episode 34 – Reading in the NICU: Reclaiming Parenting of Newborns, October 14, 2021

Newborn Intensive Care Units are physically and emotionally daunting for new parents. With many of the typical parenting roles supplanted by medical necessity, parents can be at a loss for how to reconcile this new reality. But there is another way parents can care for their children that’s equally important. Dr. Carmina Erdei, a neonatologist and the medical director of the Growth and Development Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, joins us to talk about how reading and talking to preemies can help offer parents the chance to reclaim at least some of their role, and foster healthy growth and relationships at the same time.

  • Dr. Carmina Erdei

    Dr. Carmina Erdei, MD holds triple board certification in Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. She is a faculty member in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. At BWH, Dr. Erdei serves as a neonatologist and the medical director of the Growth and Development Unit, a subunit of the level III NICU where convalescent infants at high neurodevelopmental risk receive individualized health and developmental services within a family-centered developmental care framework while preparing for their transition to home. Dr. Erdei’s research focuses on improving the short- and long-term outcomes of vulnerable infants and their families through optimization of their neurosensory, social, and nurturing experiences during early life in the NICU. Dr. Erdei is an Instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

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Episode 33 – Wordless Picture Books, September 30, 2021

Reading without words? We generally associate reading with text, but reading pictures can offer a rich and delightful opportunity for insight and literacy growth as well. Though often overlooked, wordless picture books are more accessible for pre-verbal and pre-literate children, and they can provide an enhanced interactive reading experience for a wider audience. Caldecott winning author and illustrator David Wiesner—aka ‘the father of the wordless picture book’—joins us to talk about the history, importance, and creative process behind wordless picture books.

  • David Weisner

    David Wiesner is one of the best-loved and most highly acclaimed picture book creators in the world. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have won numerous awards in the United States and abroad. Three of the picture books he both wrote and illustrated became instant classics when they won the prestigious Caldecott Medal: Tuesday in 1992, The Three Pigs in 2002, and Flotsam in 2007, making him only the second person in the award’s long history to have won three times. He has also received three Caldecott Honors, for Free Fall, Sector 7, and Mr. Wuffles!.

    Wiesner grew up in suburban New Jersey, known to his classmates as “the kid who could draw.” He went on to become a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he was able to commit himself to the full-time study of art and to explore further his passion for visual storytelling. He soon discovered that picture books were the perfect vehicle for his work.

    Wiesner generally spends several years creating each new book. Many versions are sketched and revised until the story line flows smoothly and each image works the way he wants it to. He creates three-dimensional models of objects he can’t observe in real life, such as flying pigs and lizards standing upright, to add authenticity to his drawings. David Wiesner lives with his family outside Philadelphia.

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Episode 32 – Back to School: Making Human Connections a Priority. September 16, 2021

“As we transition back to school during an ongoing pandemic, we hear a lot about a ‘covid learning slide’, which adds to the stress of a return. But, is that really how we should be framing this? There’s another way to think about all this. Boston Public Schools Principal Julia Bott, and Helen Westmoreland, the Director of Family Engagement at National PTA, join us to share how parents and caregivers can recalibrate their expectations through a focus on nurturing human connections.”

  • Julia Bott

    Julia Bott is the Principal of the Ellis Mendell School in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and has over 20 years of experience working in the Boston Public School system. She is a two-time graduate of Boston College, earning a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Educational Administration, and a degree in Moderate Special Needs. Principal Bott has recently started her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Boston College.

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  • Helen Westmoreland

    Helen Westmoreland leads the Center for Family Engagement at National PTA. The Center for Family Engagement empowers grassroots parent leaders to be champions for more transformative family engagement policies and practices. In her role, Helen oversees the development of the Center’s partnerships, initiatives, and multimedia resources, including co-hosting National PTA’s podcast, Notes from the Backpack. Helen has spent the past 20 years researching, innovating, and communicating about family, school, and community partnerships that help children thrive. She lives in the DC area with her rambunctious three-year-old.

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Episode 31 – Detoxifying Stress: Resiliency, Relationships, and Reading Together. September 2, 2021

“Toxic stress defines the problem.  Relational health defines the solution.”  This is the core of the recent revision to the American Academy’s policy statement on toxic stress, and co-author Dr. Andrew Garner joins us to explain how we need to move beyond adverse childhood experiences to discuss and support positive childhood experiences.  The number one element?  The presences of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships, which proactively build the resilience needed to cope with future adversity.

  • Dr. Andrew Garner

    Dr. Andrew Garner, MD, PhD, FAAP, is a graduate of Swarthmore College, and a product of both the Medical Scientist Training Program at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Pediatric Residency Training Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Garner has practiced primary care pediatrics with University Hospitals Medical Practices in Cleveland since 2000. He is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the CWRU School of Medicine, and a Faculty Associate with the Schubert Center for Child Studies. Dr. Garner has been an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP), having served as a member of the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health and as a past president of the Ohio Chapter. Dr. Garner co-authored an AAP published book, entitled “Thinking Developmentally,” and he is the co-author of a recently revised AAP Policy Statement on the prevention of childhood toxic stress.

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Episode 30 – Best Beginnings: Book Sharing from Birth. August 19, 2021

“A baby’s brain is forming thousands to millions of neuronal connections per minute, absorbing new information in the first six months. This is the perfect opportunity to start a shared reading routine, right from birth. But are overwhelmed, sleep-deprived parents ready to add one more thing to their plate? Dr. Anna Miller-Fitzwater joins us to talk about Reach Out and Read’s “Back to Birth” program, and how to make reading with infants practical and achievable for new parents.”

  • Dr. Anna Miller-Fitzwater

    Dr. Anna Miller-Fitzwater is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics in General Pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, providing both direct clinical care and resident supervision in the newborn nursery, outpatient general pediatrics clinic, and in child abuse pediatrics. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Pediatric Society and is the AAP’s Early Childhood Champion for North Carolina. Nationally, she is active in the AAP Council on Early Childhood where, along with me, she is a member of the Executive Committee and co-chair of the Early Literacy Subcommittee. Among her many leadership roles, Dr. Miller-Fitzwater is also the medical director for Reach Out and Read North Carolina and, to the point of today’s episode, was integral to the design and assessment of the Back to Birth initiative for Reach Out and Read National.

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Episode 29 – Quirky Kids, August 5, 2021

When parenting, teaching, or caring for kids, there can be a fine line between those with a readily identifiable diagnosis, and those who are just plain “different”. Dr. Perri Klass and Dr. Eileen Costello, co-authors of “Quirky Kids: Understanding and Supporting Your Child With Developmental Differences” join us to talk about quirky kids, and the joys and challenges they can bring to families.

  • Dr. Perri Klass

    Dr. Perri Klass, a pediatrician, author, and writer of “The Checkup”, a regular column on children’s issues for The New York Times. She is also the world’s only Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics, at New York University. Dr. Klass writes about children and families, medicine, children’s literacy and literature, food and travel, and knitting. Dr. Klass is the National Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, a past guest, and an occasional guest host for this podcast.

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  • Dr. Eileen Costello

    Dr. Costello is a clinical professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and the chief of ambulatory pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. She directs the pediatric primary care clinic and is medical director of the SOFAR (Supporting Our Families through Addiction and Recovery) program, a dyad model of care for children of mothers with substance use disorders. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Northwestern University School of Medicine. She completed her residency training at Boston City Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital and was a chief resident at Boston City Hospital. She has additional training in autism and in psychopharmacology as well as in the integration of behavioral health into pediatric primary care. Her current and ongoing clinical interests include high quality pediatric primary care, care of children with neurodevelopmental disorders or mental health disorders, and care of children affected by the opioid epidemic. She is the co-author of Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit In. A second edition was just released last fall.

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Episode 28 BONUS – Sometimes You Have to Lie, August 5, 2021

‘Ole Golly says there is as many ways to live as there are people on the earth.’ So says Harriet in “Harriet the Spy,” the brainchild of author Louise Fitzhugh. Today we dive in deeper with one of literature’s most beloved ‘quirky’ kids, with a discussion of how Harriet and Louise broke the mold of children’s literature. Guest host Dr. Perri Klass speaks with Leslie Brody, author of the highly acclaimed new biography Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy.

  • Leslie Brody

    Leslie Brody, a playwright, biographer, and professor of Creative Nonfiction in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Redlands. Her books include Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford, and Red Star Sister: Between Madness and Utopia. Her latest book is Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy.

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Episode 27 – From Book Dessert to Reading Oasis, July 22, 2021

Have you heard of book deserts?  Nearly half of our nation’s children live in one: neighborhoods that lack public libraries and bookstores and where more than half of low-income children live in homes where books are an unaffordable or unfamiliar luxury. Dr. Molly Ness, an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Education at Fordham University, and Alvin Irby of Barbershop Books, join us to talk about how to not only alleviate book deserts but create book ‘oases’ that set children and families up for success.

  • Alvin Irby, MS, MPA

    Alvin Irby is a former kindergarten teacher and the founder of Barbershop Books. He received the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize for his work promoting reading in barbershops. Irby’s TED Talk “How to inspire every child to be a lifelong reader,” has been viewed over 1 million times and he helps school districts, library systems, and education orgs make reading relevant and engaging for all students. Irby received an MS in Childhood Education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

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  • Dr. Molly Ness

    Dr. Molly Ness is an associate professor in childhood education at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. Dr. Ness is a prolific researcher and author, having written four books and numerous articles in top-tiered educational journals. She holds over twenty years of teaching and clinical reading experience. In 2019, Molly began the End Book Deserts podcast to bring attention to the issue of book access and equity.

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Episode 26 – Opening Up the Book on Reach Out and Read, July 8, 2021

Reach Out and Read has become a significant part of American pediatrics. And while operating on such a large scale can generate incredible results, challenges also crop up. So we’re going to ‘open up the book’ on our organization with someone who is uniquely positioned to do — Reach Out and Read CEO Brian Gallagher joins us to talk about where the organization is today, where we’re going, and what opportunities and obstacles we might face along the way. And also, a podcast first for us: breaking news!

  • Brian Gallagher, MPA biography

    Brian Gallagher, who has been with Reach Out and Read since 2007, previously served as the organization’s Director of National Programs, providing strategic leadership to all aspects of the organization’s national programmatic activity, including program metrics, medical provider training, and professional development, quality assurance and improvement, and special initiatives. He spearheaded national efforts to increase the number of children served and the number of healthcare providers who participate in Reach Out and Read, resulting in a significant increase in organizational capacity from 3,700 programs to more than 5,400. In addition, in collaboration with partners nationwide, Brian led a strategy to build a strong foundation for numerous new state and regional affiliates to increase capacity to serve even more children living in low-income communities. Brian previously worked as a Policy and Program Manager for the Boston Private Industry Council, a workforce development organization specializing in designing and implementing school-to-career programs. He holds an MPA from Suffolk University and a BA from Hamilton College.

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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.