Prisca Barnes’ passion for improving literacy levels amongst early readers has turned into a successful nonprofit touching the lives of thousands of Kansas children. Through partnerships and initiatives that offer early childhood development, family involvement around reading, book access, and the literary arts, Barnes and her organization Storytime Village have worked relentlessly to help disadvantaged children in Kansas since the program’s founding in 2009.
“To whom much is given, much is required. My mom was an elementary school teacher, and I felt compelled coming from a literacy-rich environment to support others who did not have what I had, and that ultimately drew me to founding a literacy nonprofit,” commented Barnes.
Barnes not only serves as the CEO of Storytime Village she is also a writer. Last year, she wrote and published a children’s book People Pride and Promise. Illustrated by local artist Priscella Brown, the book tellsthe story of a real-life Wichitan Ron Walters. As a youngster, Walters dreams of living in Wichita where he is treated fairly and equally but can’t because of the color of his skin. With the help of the NAACP Youth Council, Walters organizes a sit-in at the local Dockum Drugstore to try and make a change in his city.
Barnes gained her writing style and appreciation for African-American literature while attending Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black university.
“Growing up in Wichita, we didn’t have a diverse collection of books. It wasn’t until I was exposed to Atlanta culture and started reading all these children’s books when my eyes were opened, and it was like, Oh, we have to share this with the world,” said Barnes, who received her Bachelors in Mass Communications from CAU.
Barnes has been eliminating “book desserts” by installing Little Free Libraries in underserved neighborhoods. The book-sharing libraries, placed in a sponsor’s yard, make free books available 24 hours a day and encourage literacy in the community or school they are partnered with. Barne and her Storytime Village crew have planned an hour of fun programming for young readers during the Midwest Black Book A-Fair. Bring your children out for some literary fun while you learn more about the informative and creative work of the participating authors.
For more information aboutStorytime Village, visit https://www.storytimevillage.org/.