Happy Mother’s Day!

The number one indicator for literacy skills in a child is always the access to books in the home. We at JKS have so much to thank our mom’s for as our role models, friends, and book tastemakers from early on….without them we wouldn’t be the readers we are today! Read on for some of our staff reflections on mothers and reading.


Lana, Her Mom, and Sisters









Lana Allen, Executive Administrator

Growing up Mom always had at least 3 books checked out from the library at any given time. Mom was the one who encouraged my sisters and I to volunteer at our local library when we were teenagers– we did, begrudgingly at first, but it ended up being an invaluable experience.

For my birthday this year Mom gave me a new book, called Killers of the Flower Moon, which details the true story of the investigation into the murders of several members of the Osage Nation in Osage County, Oklahoma (just one county over from my Arkansas hometown) in the 1920s. It’s absolutely fascinating so far, thanks Mom! I’m so glad that now that I’m (mostly) grown, books are still an important part of our relationship.


Angelle and Her Mom









Angelle Barbazon, Lead Publicist

It would probably surprise most people to know that when I was a kid, I was sort of a reluctant reader. For a long time, I felt constrained to the list of books my English and literature teachers would assign in school. And while many of those books — classics that I’ve come to love and appreciate today — were valuable in my early education, my mother knew that I had a thirst for knowledge and entertainment that wasn’t being quenched. I can’t remember how old I was when my mom, who has always been a voracious reader, took me to the library to sign up for my own library card, but I distinctly remember holding it in my hand for the very first time and feeling a sense of excitement about the literary world that I had never experienced. Suddenly I had the power to pick out my own books and explore literature on my own terms. The library became a second home for me, and it still is. That one trip to the library changed my life forever, and I have my mom to thank for that.


Marissa and Her Mom










Marissa DeCuir, President
My mom has that motherly superpower of always having a way to make me feel better. Saltines and Sprite for an upset stomach, rubbing my head to help me fall asleep, and introducing me to my favorite children’s book to get me through the tougher times.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day filled me with a lifetime of motivation to not sweat the small stuff (okay I’ll admit, that’s still easier said than done sometimes!) and to be so grateful for all the wonderful things I am so fortunate to already have. Who knew a few small pages could influence my entire life? But that’s what literature does of course, and my mom was the first to introduce me to all of my favorites. I suppose it’s no surprise that we still have a similar taste in books, and it’s always so fun to geek out over the stories together!


Max, His Mom and Siblings











Max Lopez, Publicist
I’ve always associated stories with my mother. She would read to me and my siblings every night before bed, and if we’d read all the books we owned (which happened frequently,) she would make one up on the spot. My love of books can be directly traced back to the way she introduced me to them; as portals to different worlds, to be cherished and voraciously consumed. I’ll never be able to thank her for all that she’s done for me, and especially for giving me an adventurous love for literature!



Ellen and Her Daughter Maya









Ellen Whitfield, Publicist

When I was young, my mom used to make up stories for me featuring all sorts of fantastic characters — Tommy the turtle was a favorite. I think this is part of the reason I had such a great imagination as a kid, and I love to read and immerse myself in new worlds. Now that I’m a mom myself, I realize how hard it is to come up with tales from your own mind. I am always trying to think of fun stories to tell my toddler and coming up blank. Thank goodness she has so many books I can use as backup! And luckily, my mom takes care of her during the week so she can be told the some of the same stories that I was exposed to.



Hannah’s Mom Reading to Hannah’s Nephew










Hannah Robertson, Junior Publicist
My mom has always been the point of inspiration for my love of reading. When I was young, she would gather my siblings and I and read to us before bed each night. I’ll never forget the way her voice would guide us through Narnia’s magical lands or the great fields Misty of Chincoteague ran through. Through these and so many other stories, my mom instilled a passion for reading in me that influences just about everything I do. She has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and step out of my comfort zones, in literature and in life. I owe her so much of who I am and what I love.



Sara and Her Mom













Sara Wigal, Senior Manager
I’m lucky that everyone in my family is a big reader, but I know that my work in Publishing comes from my mother’s encouragement in many ways. Her father worked for The New York Times his entire life, passing that interest in words down to my mother who was the editor of her high school or college newspaper and always loved literature…even though she’s actually a scientist by profession! Growing up she really honored my own interests in reading by taking my brothers and me to the library every week, letting me curl up everywhere with my books, and encouraging me to follow my dreams and study literature in college. She’s modeled what it means to be a literate woman in your own community, as a member of book clubs, school board volunteer, and other active ways to influence literacy and education. Now we compare notes on what we are reading all the time and pass books back and forth, which is really fun!