NIGEL BARKER, YAYA DACOSTA + OTHERS NAMED LITERACY CHAMPIONS

NIGEL BARKER, YAYA DACOSTA + OTHERS NAMED LITERACY CHAMPIONS FOR 18th ANNUAL READ FOR THE RECORD CAMPAIGN ON OCT. 26 

BOSTON — The national early education nonprofit Jumpstart for Young Children is thrilled to announce the esteemed group of Literacy Champions for this year’s 18th annual Read for the Record campaign, the world’s largest shared reading experience bringing together over 24 million people to date to read the same book on the same day in celebration of early literacy.  

Renowned TV personality, fashion photographer and filmmaker Nigel Barker; actress and model Yaya DaCosta; actress, producer, and Emmy-nominated Host Monique Coleman; DJ, producer, radio personality and author Bobbito García; and social media personality Maya Lê will team up with Jumpstart to serve as ambassadors for the annual campaign poised to bring together over 2 million readers across thousands of classrooms, libraries, and communities this year.  

Read for the Record Literacy Champions shine a bright spotlight on the value of reading with children and the importance of diverse books – ensuring that all children are able to see themselves and their families in the books that they read,” said Jumpstart CEO Naila Bolus. “For Nigel, Monique, Yaya, Bobbito and Maya to use their platform to advocate for and celebrate equity in children’s literature is incredible, and we can’t thank them enough for their role in bringing awareness to this critical issue.” 

With Lots of Love, the headlining book for the 18th annual Read for the Record campaign honors the special place that grandparents can hold within families, and it celebrates the power of food, home language, and traditional decorations to keep people connected. The Literacy Champions will use their platforms to encourage others to join the Read for the Record campaign and raise awareness about the need for all children to have access to diverse, high-quality children’s books. 

“As a father, I get to experience firsthand the pure joy that comes with reading a book alongside your child and the raw excitement when they yell, ‘Dad, that looks just like me!’” Nigel Barker said. “I’m proud to support Read for the Record in their mission to promote diverse representation in books because every child deserves to feel that unadulterated wonder, that sense of belonging and that emotional personal connection when they read a story. That’s what reading is all about.”   

On October 26, you can join the Literacy Champions, teachers, parents, and children from all over the world as they laugh and cry alongside Rocio and the abuela she misses so much.  

Nigel Barker is an internationally renowned photographer who opened his New York studio in 1996. He served 17 seasons as a photographer and judge on the hit TV show America’s Next Top Model, which aired in over 140 countries, and hosted Oxygen Network’s modeling competition series The Face, starring alongside Naomi Campbell. Barker has directed and produced films, documentaries, and commercials for everyone from Hollywood clients to international charitable organizations and was awarded the “Film Heals” Award for Humanitarianism at the 6th Annual Manhattan Film Festival for his documentary Dreams Are Not Forgotten 

Monique Coleman is an actress and dancer best known for her role in Disney’s High School Musical franchise, and in November 2010 she was appointed the first-ever United Nations Youth Champion. She is also the founder and CEO of GimmeMo.com, which seeks to inspire, empower, and motivate young people through safe dialog about real issues and to connect and support young people through diverse challenges.  

First-time Literacy Champions Maya Lê, Bobbito García and Yaya DaCosta will join Barker and Coleman. Yaya DaCosta is an actress and model, starring in NBC’s Chicago Med, Lincoln Lawyer, All My Children, Ugly Betty, Our Kind of People and the TV movie, Whitney, and appearing in films such as The Kids Are All Right, In Time, The Messenger, The Butler, And So It Goes, and The Nice Guys. She was also the runner-up in Cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model 

Known as the progenitor of sneaker journalism, NYC native Bobbito García is a visionary creative who has put an indelible footprint on multiple urban movements, including his tenure as one-half of the legendary 1990s air personality “Stretch and Bobbito” program on WKCR. Bobbito is also a world-renowned DJ, an award-winning filmmaker and a founding member of the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture Council, as well as a children’s book author. Maya Lê is the creator of MaiStoryBook and passionate about quality and equality in early education. Maya is an elementary school teacher, artist and curriculum developer. 

Past Read for the Record Literacy Champions include: Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Ashanti; actor Josh Duhamel; actress and model Bridget Moynahan; rapper, songwriter, record producer, and actor LL Cool J; singer, songwriter, and actress Mandy Moore; actress Julianna Margulies; Yoga and wellness influencer Sjana Elise; singer Brynn Elliott; New York WPIX11 anchor Tamsen Fadal; author Christina Geist; journalist and Ask Lisa podcast host Reena Ninan, podcast host Zibby Owens; model and Jumpstart alumna Jourdana Phillips; musician Marc Roberge of O.A.R.; and Master Chef Junior winner Che Spiotta.  

To learn more about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, visit www.readfortherecord.org 

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ABOUT JUMPSTART FOR YOUNG CHILDREN 

For nearly 30 years, Jumpstart has been fueled by the belief that providing high-quality educational opportunities to all young children prepares them for academic and economic success later in life. Jumpstart advances equitable learning outcomes for young children by recruiting and supporting caring adults to deliver high-quality programming and drive systems change through teaching, advocacy, and leadership. Jumpstart has trained more than 60,000 college students and community volunteers, preparing over 140,000 children for kindergarten success. Jumpstart’s program is replicated across the country in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at jstart.org

Nigel Barker

Monique Coleman

Yaya DaCosta

Bobbito García

Maya Lê

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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