The Literature Matters Festival will take place at the Firehouse Cultural Center

The Literature Matters Festival, scheduled for Saturday, October 1 at the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin, will highlight local and out-of-town self-published children’s book authors who are all interested in engaging and helping children read.

On Saturday October 1, children of all ages are invited to attend a festival called Literature Matters. The festival will take place from 2-4 p.m. at the Firehouse Cultural Center, located at 101 1st Ave. NE to Ruskin. The Literature Matters festival is free and open to the public.

Literature Matters was founded by J. Desiree Rodriguez, an Afro-Latina, four-time self-published, award-winning author, teacher, former Ms. All-Star Southeast 2021, wife, mother, doctoral candidate, and community enthusiast. Rodriguez has over 10 years of experience in strategic communications and community outreach. She became a business owner at the age of 23 with the goal of impacting youth through literacy and mentorship.

Literature Matters offers the community the opportunity to connect with national authors, guest speakers, storytelling and music.

Rodriguez said, “I grew up as a kid of Dominican and African American descent. I didn’t understand my history or connect to my culture. My mother cooked sancocho, rice and beans. However, I didn’t know why my mother spoke Spanish and why we were going to another country to see our family. I couldn’t connect to my culture and understand where I came from.

Rodriguez added, “There are kids who don’t understand their culture, just like me.”

According to Rodriguez, “Literature Matters brings underrepresented books to communities in need. Communities that lack diverse books will be supported through book distributions, keynote addresses and community events.

Rodriguez added, “More often than not, Latin American, Hispanic, African American, and Asian American literature is not incorporated into required K-12 literature. Let’s work together and change the narrative. As Americans, we embody cultures from around the world. It’s time our children read about them.

Confirmed authors include Rodriguez, Casilya Smith, Devin Paladino, Annette Eberhart, Leroy Toliver, and Tyrone Void. Confirmed speakers are Casilya Smith and Devin Paladino.

Literature Matters is an affiliate program of J. Desiree LLC, designed for literacy awareness. The Literature Matters festival is about 2 years old.

If you have any questions, please contact Rodriguez at [email protected]

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