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.

Karen (KK) Cherney, Vice President

KK Cherney… is a founding educator for the continuously number one rated elementary school in Duval County, Chets Creek Elementary, and has held the position of Head Media Specialist since 1998. In 2010, KK was one of the top five teachers chosen for the prestigious Alferd Williams Literacy Award, which recognizes educators dedicated to improving national literacy rates. One of KK’s greatest accomplishments has been establishing an after-school literacy program in a school community joining Chets Creek Elementary with Portside’s property owners, American Residential Communities, to open Chets Creek Elementary Academic Resource Center at the mobile home park between San Pablo Road and Hodges Boulevard in May of 2010.The center continues the mission improving literacy as the McKenzie Noelle Wilson Academic Center. KK has a B.S. from Nova Southeastern University and a Master of Library and Information Science from Florida State University. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher 2006-2016.

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.

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.