Brown Kids Read

In 2018, when Ssanyu Lukoma was 13 years old, she wanted to make a positive difference in the world. Ssanyu decided that reading was a great way to reach that goal! Reading is essential to the success for young children’s mental development and since she was an avid reader, Ssanyu wanted to share that joy with the generation coming behind her. She started Brown Kids Read to motivate all children, but especially children of color to read more diverse literature. 

One day, Ssanyu looked around at her friends and peers and realized that they were not supplied with diverse literature when they were younger, unlike herself.  She grew up with a bookshelf full of stories featuring people who looked like her (thanks to her parents).  Ssanyu read about people like Rosa Parks, Katherine Johnson, and Ruby Bridges, who all inspired her to be like them – a world-changing, black woman.  Ssanyus wants to make a difference by inspiring kids to choose more diverse literature and making those books accessible to them.

Between 2018 and 2023, Brown Kids Read was operating The Brown Reads Bookshelf — an online and pop-up bookstore where all of the books were written by and/or featuring people of color. The Brown Reads Bookshelf impacted thousands of young readers when it was operating, however, since Ssanyu is now a college student, it has been officially closed. To continue making an impact, Ssanyu started the #1000BrownStories Campaign to inspire more community engagement when supporting young readers.