In November 2016, a couple of days after Donald Trump won the presidential election, I attended YALLFest in South Carolina for the first time. The air was heavy with disappointment while groups of authors and readers gathered in downtown Charleston to talk about books. I assumed that no one would mention the election, but reality was quite the opposite. EVERYONE was talking about it. Every single panel mentioned the election in some capacity. Each author used it as an opportunity to stress the importance of reading and learning. They went on to futher explain how reading helps build empathy. Their message was clear and it resonated with me. Although this did not start me on my BookTube journey, it certainly keeps me going.

Regardless of your political leanings, it’s difficult to argue the value of education and empathy. It’s these things together that allow us to better understand each other. What would the world be like if we all understood each other just a little bit better?

I’m passionate and excited about reading. I look forward to passing that on to others whether they’re middle grade, young adult, new adult or beyond. Discussing what we’ve read helps us exchange ideas and potentially shift rigid mindsets. There are so many unique worlds and perspectives to explore in books. I hope you’ll join me in discovering them.