Akira’s Book Club Champions Literacy

KOO Labs Akira's Book Club mobile library

Photos: Courtesy of Wordsmith Jr.

Oakland — In a vibrant collaboration celebrating the joy of reading and the richness of Black culture, Kingmakers of Oakland proudly partners with Wordsmith Jr / Akira’s Book Club (ABC). Spearheaded by co-founders Dr. Grace Carroll and her granddaughter, Akira, ABC has become a beacon of literary empowerment. Their captivating books are tailored for children from pre-K to 5th grade.

“Akira’s Book Club was created to provide a vehicle to work closely with children of color around literacy,” long-time educator Dr. Grace Carroll acknowledged. “I strongly believe that literacy is a critical key to open our children’s eyes and minds to our vast history, culture, and impact we as Black people have had on the world. At the same time, I knew that representation is so very important. We combined having children see other children that looked like them with literacy lessons.”

These beautifully crafted stories entertain and serve as poignant life lessons for young readers, nurturing Akira’s growth and understanding of her heritage. There beginner level helps children learn the alphabet and grammatical terms. The second level has five books learning about the parts of speech. Their next level teaches Haiku poems, self-love, and the importance of health and nutrition.

Committed to fostering a love for reading within the Black community.  ABC understands that reading changes lives, by nourishing lives. That’s why reading is essential for students to succeed academically and in life. Cultural relevance is a key ingredient in getting young people hooked on digesting books. To walk their talk,  ABC has installed over 15 mobile share libraries throughout Oakland, including one prominently stationed in front of Kingmakers of Oakland.

“Research indicates that many Black children don’t have books in their homes. Research also shows that homes with many books for their children facilitates literacy,” Dr. Carroll states. “One solution was to help our children get books. Akira’s Book Club used this information to begin the ABC Houses, our mini-libraries, which were placed in areas where the need was greatest.  It was our intention to provide free books to children in these neighborhoods so they, too, could have books at home.”

Our collaboration with Akira’s Books extends to the JEGNA program, ensuring that Black students at MLK Elementary in Oakland receive the support they need to meet reading level milestones through 5th grade. By joining forces with ABC, Kingmakers of Oakland continues to champion literacy, representation, and educational equity, empowering young minds to thrive and embrace their identities through the power of storytelling. Together, we pave the way for a brighter future where every child can access the transformative magic of books.

Stay Up To Date With Our Event Information!