Hi, I’m Carylee Carrington, author, entrepreneur, literacy advocate and Founder of Read With Carylee, Inc. I live in Northern Virginia with my two amazing boys, where I enjoy an active lifestyle. Originally from the island of Jamaica, I grew up in New York City, before making Northern Virginia my home. I am, to some, known as the “accidental author,” because this was not where I thought my path would lead. Though I love writing, being a children’s author was the furthest thing from my mind. Ensuring that children have access to diverse literature, has become a mission that drives as an author and advocate.
Read With Carylee, Inc
Diverse children’s books not only help a child to feel seen, it helps others understand and empathize with others who they may otherwise see through the lens of stereotypes.
My fight for diversity in children's literature is a personal one. My son was told in Kindergarten, by a classmate, that he should only be playing with children of his own skin color. Coming from a mixed family, that did not sit well with me. Most school systems don't start teaching diversity until middle school, when the divisions are more prominent. We need to make teaching diversity a priority at an early age, so that we have the next generation having more knowledge and understanding of each other. For me diversity is more than skin deep.
Read With Carylee, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit, which aims to support and champion the call for diverse literature to be accessible to ALL children. We help authors who believe in our mission and who have a passion for storytelling, expand their reach. These authors write from first-hand knowledge or experience of their protagonists, to ensure authenticity of the story. Children, when given the chance to learn about others, preconceived perceptions and stereotypes about other who may not look, act or believe as they do.
Author & Host
My approach to writing children’s books is influenced by the lives of children all around me. My eldest son inspired my first published book, entitled “Everyone, Just Like Me.” One of my main goals as an author is to encourage children to embrace their differences with the understanding that everyone is unique in their own special way. In my newest book, “Pretty Hair,” I strive to teach young girls to find their own kind of beautiful, by showing them there is more than one type of hair that is pretty.
In addition to my authorship, I am also an enormous supporter and advocate for the arts. I have visited schools in Virginia and Georgia, encouraging the love of reading and the art of writing as well as self-publishing. I have also expanded my love for sharing books to other media platforms such as YouTube. In 2019, I created the show, Read With Carylee, where I introduce my audience to children’s book authors, who share their books in their own voice. This helps me to continue to bring positive inspirational books to children, encouraging them to believe in their dreams and be the best version of themselves. It is my hope to continue to promote these positive messages, so that our children may grow to be strong individuals and lead the charge for a kinder and more loving future.
One of my biggest motivators was my mother, the late Dr. Norma McPherson, who was a literacy coach and life-long educator. With her encouragement and guidance, I set out to bring the love of reading to as many children as I can. Along with my work as an author and literacy advocate, I have been a contributor on WJLAs, “Outside The Classroom”, I am a board member for Reading Is Fundamental Northern Virginia and also serve on the board for the Prince William County Arts Council. My latest book “Pretty Hair” has been listed as one of the top 20 books to diversify children’s bookshelves, by PopSugar and my first release, “Everyone, Just Like Me” has been featured as a tool to assist in speaking to children about race.
As the Founder and Director of Read With Carylee, Inc., I am glad to serve the community and help all children see themselves in the pages of books.