Rooted MKE’s new lighting kit is here

Local BIPOC children’s bookstore and literacy center Rooted MKE is participating in National Literary Month with their new subscription box “Lit Kits” celebrating Black, Brown and Indigenous writers and illustrators.

Ashley Valentine, owner of Rooted MKE, said: “Our subscription box is essentially an opportunity to have books representing different characters delivered to your door, either written by creators of colour , or drawn by illustrations.”

Not only does this subscription bring a variety of books into the home, but it also provides a unique literary experience. Each box ($75-100 per month) comes with three books, a set of understanding cards, and a book-related accessory.

“This box encourages each young reader to develop a successful comprehension strategy and a sound foundation of literacy that they may or may not be embracing in a school setting,” Valentine said.

For National Literacy Month this September, Rooted MKE is aiming to recruit 80 children across the country to participate in Lit Kits.

“I think we all know how important literacy is for young people and adults. We want to make sure we’re celebrating that. Not many people even know it’s National Literature Month, so this is where we raise awareness about the cause way,” Valentine said.

The box is suitable for four different age groups, ranging in size from NewbFrom as early as teens, each with a unique name and theme: “Well-Read Lit Kit” (ages 10-12), “Genius in Training” (ages 7-9), “Busy Explorer” (ages 4- 6 years old) children) and “curious little ones” (0-3 years old). Valentine highlights the benefits of exposing children to different stories at an early age.

“The danger of not introducing multiple characters is worrying that children will develop ideas about who should be in the book and who isn’t,” Valentine said.

That’s why Valentine was very intentional in putting each box together.

“There’s not a single book in our collection that we haven’t thought deeply about,” she said. “Not all of them are new releases. Many books I fell in love with as a child. We look at data from national publishers. We also consider local authors. How can we elevate people who write children’s literature in our own city?”

Rooted MKE also offers subscribers twice a month in-person book clubs and virtual meetings for those outside the Milwaukee area or families who may have busy schedules.

“We’ve been trying to expand our reach beyond the people who can actually get to the store. We want to meet people where they are and bring them these broad titles,” Valentine said.

She said she hopes the service will impact every reader, young and old, in a powerful way.

“I want our boxes to commemorate important moments in these children’s lives,” Valentine said. “Our goal is to spread the BIPOC story, not just to the children of Milwaukee, but to the extent we can.”



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