Our mission: Expanding 21st Century Literacy. One child. One classroom. One school at a time.

Kid Literacy, Inc. takes a unique approach to expanding literacy and education by combining digital media, literacy, and STEM/STEAM education to prepare today’s students with skill sets for tomorrow. We accomplish this by bringing authors and illustrators to schools to give dynamic presentations that engage and excite students about the idea of reading, writing, and STEM/STEAM literacy.



Jennifer Swanson, Founder / CEO

Jennifer Swanson, author… is an award-winning children’s author of over 50 books, mostly about science and history. For the past eight years, Jennifer has dedicated herself to promoting literacy through her books and presentations at the American Library Association, National Council of Teachers of English, National Science Teacher Association regional and national conference, the prestigious Highlights Foundation, and the World Science Festival. She is also the founder and administrator of STEM Tuesday, a blog focused on providing tools that connect literacy to STEM books in the classroom for teachers. She has a B.S. degree in chemistry from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.S. Ed (K-8 science education) from Walden University. Jennifer is currently employed as a middle school science instructor with Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth.

Teresa Bunner, Vice President

Teresa Bunner, VP - woman with dark shoulder length hair and glasses

is the founder of TSB Education Partners LLC. She works with teachers, schools and districts to create engaging and powerful learning spaces. She spent over 30 years in public education and served in a variety of roles where she has honed her skills as a classroom practitioner, coach and education leader. At the school level and district level, Teresa held roles as a literacy coach, instructional coach, program academic specialist, district coordinating teacher for secondary literacy and the Director for Student Engagement in the Office of Equity Affairs in the largest school district in North Carolina.

Teresa is also a mom and is pretty proud of the four amazing human beings she raised. You’ll often find her hanging out with them talking about books, social issues and (currently) cheering on her youngest as a college swimmer.

Rebekah Mitchell, Secretary

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is the Senior Manager for Organizational Development for the Jacksonville Public Library. With almost 20 years of experience in libraries, predominantly focusing on access to information and literacy tools for youth, Rebekah has seen the need for high quality programs and tools to engage children in the world of STEM and literacy. One of her proudest accomplishments was creating a library programming team that presents storytimes, art and science programs, and a variety of teen events at the 21 branches of the library system.  She has a B.A. in English Literature from Queen’s University Belfast, a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from USF, and a Master’s in Public Administration from UNF.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Vanessa Brantley-Newton… celebrates self-love and acceptance of all cultures through her work, and hopes to inspire young readers to find their own voices. She first learned to express herself as a little girl through song. Growing up in a musical family, Vanessa’s parents taught her how to sing to help overcome her stuttering. Each night the family would gather to make music together, with her mom on piano, her dad on guitar, and Vanessa and her sister, Coy, singing the blues, gospel, spirituals, and jazz. Now whenever she illustrates, music fills the air and finds its way into her art. The children she draws can be seen dancing, wiggling, and moving freely across the page in an expression of happiness. Music is a constant celebration, no matter the occasion, and Vanessa hopes her illustrations bring joy to others, with the same magic of a beautiful melody.

Alexis Desiree Lua

headshop of Alexis - young woman with long dark brown hair wearing a white shirt and beige jacketBorn in Mexico City where her love for rock formations, exploring caves and cenotes with her dad led to a passion for mineral exploration. Alexis’ curiosity drew her to study Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University.  Alexis works as a Global Director of Strategic Accounts. Her involvement as a media company co-founder provided her experience to help organizations improve their marketing initiatives and brand messaging. A skillset she can give back with to non-profit organizations focusing on STEM education and female empowerment. Helping to expand their outreach and attract funding.

Parag Patel

Parag Patel, board member

… is an assistant professor at Mayo Clinic Florida in the department of Transplantation and currently serves as the division chair for Heart Failure and Transplant under the department of Transplant. He completed his medical school at Northwestern University and internal medicine residency, cardiology fellowship, and transplant fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. He remained on faculty at University of Texas as the Director of the Heart Failure Clinic at Parkland Hospital. He has been at Mayo Clinic since 2012.  His clinical and research interests include cardiogenic shock, end stage heart failure, left ventricular assist devices, and heart transplants.

Laurel Neme

close up shot of Laurel Neme - smiling woman in fleece jacket with brown shoulder length hair and glasses standing outside in a winter marsh

As a young girl growing up outside of Chicago, Laurel Neme dreamed of helping animals. At first, she wanted to be a large animal veterinarian and talk to the animals like Dr. Dolittle. Later, she wanted to be an animal scientist like Jane Goodall, and filled notebooks with observations about her goldfish. Eventually, she decided to help animals in her own way—by telling their stories. So far, she’s written three books. The first, ANIMAL INVESTIGATORS: How the World’s First Wildlife Forensics Lab is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species (foreword by Richard Leakey, endorsed by Jane Goodall), is a “CSI for animals” about wildlife crime and forensics and the scientist heroes working to stop smugglers. She’s also has written two picture books for kids: ORANGUTAN HOUDINI, a true story about an orangutan who outsmarts his zookeeper, and THE ELEPHANT’S NEW SHOE, a true story about the rescue of a baby elephant who needs an artificial foot.

She’s also written over 70 articles for National Geographic and dozens more for environmental news site Mongabay.com and other outlets. In 2022, she was nominated by National Geographic for a Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting, along with her colleague Jeffrey Barbee, for their series of articles about oil exploration in the Okavango watershed in Namibia and Botswana.

Laurel has a PhD from Princeton University and a Master’s in public policy from the University of Michigan, where her dad had marched in the Michigan marching band. Could that explain the special place in her heart for tigers and wolverines?!? She lives in Vermont with family and super smart German shepherd, who loves to do laundry. Learn more at www.LaurelNeme.com