Author & Illustrator Advocates

Room to Read’s Author and Illustrator Advocates are a network of book creators around the world who have a shared passion for the power of storytelling to bring diverse experiences to life.

We are honored to partner with these bestselling and world-renowned changemakers to build a more inclusive and just world.

Meet the Advocates

Alka Joshi

Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Alka has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She graduated from Stanford University and worked in the fields of advertising and PR before starting her own marketing consultancy. In 2011, she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of Arts in San Francisco, California.

A New York Times bestseller, The Henna Artist is her first novel and is in series development with Miramax TV. Alka shares her writing and publishing process on her YouTube channel.

"Through books, I’ve traveled to distant lands, met people who speak different languages, and celebrated lives different from my own. It’s my heart’s desire for every child in this world to be able to do that. Through Room to Read, we’re working to help millions of people broaden their horizons."

- Alka Joshi

Christina Baker Kline

A #1 New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including The Exiles, Orphan Train and A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline is published in 40 countries. Her novels have been awarded the New England Prize for Fiction, the Maine Literary Award, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, among other accolades, and have been chosen by hundreds of communities, universities and schools as "One Book, One Read" selections.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, Psychology Today, Poets& Writers, and Salon, among other places. Born in England and raised in the American South and Maine, she lives in New York City and on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

“Books are powerful tools that not only educate but serve as necessary reminders of our shared humanity. Room to Read is creating a world that is brighter and more just as they ensure the next generation of young learners unlock their full potential. I am honored to support world change through educated children as a Room to Read Author Advocate.”

- Christina Baker Kline

Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki is a leading American educator, journalist and mother. A leader in Blending Learning and the integration of technology into education, she is the founder of the Media Arts program at Palo Alto High School, where she built a journalism program from a small group of 20 students in 1984 to one of the largest in the nation including 600 students, five additional journalism teachers, and nine award-winning journalism publications. Wojcicki serves as Vice Chair of Creative Commons and has previously worked as a professional journalist for multiple publications and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and Thrive Global.

Esther has been intimately involved with Google and GoogleEdu since its inception, where she was one of the leaders in setting up the Google Teacher Academy and remains a guiding force. In 2020, she co-founded to empower teenagers and kids ages 8-14. With three Honorary Doctorate Degrees – Palo Alto University (2013), Rhode Island School of Design (2016), and Universidade de Brazilia Centro (2018) –she was named California Teacher of the Year in 2002 by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; a recipient of the Gold Key by Columbia Scholastic Press Association in recognition of her outstanding devotion to the cause of the school press; a board member of Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, DC, and on the Board of Newseum in DC; and a has been consultant for the U.S Department of Education, Hewlett Foundation, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, Google, Silicon Valley Education Foundation and Time Magazine Education.

"Room to Read actively engages teachers and parents as essential partners in the fight to keep students’ learning on track. People all over the world have the same goal for our children—to lead a better life—and Room to Read is making education opportunities more equitable so that kids everywhere can learn and develop."

- Esther Wojcicki

Dr. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Quế Mai is the author of eleven books of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction in Vietnamese and English. Her writing in Vietnamese has received the 2010 Poetry of the Year Award from the Hanoi Writers Association, the Capital’s Literature & Arts Award, and First Prize in the Poetry Competition celebrating 1,000 Years of Hanoi. Her debut novel and first book in English, “The Mountains Sing”, is an international bestseller and has won several international book prizes and awards including the 2021 International Book Awards and the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for "a work of exceptional quality" and a "contribution to peace and reconciliation". Her second novel in English, “Dust Child”, is set in Vietnam and forthcoming with Algonquin Books. She has been named by Forbes Vietnam as one of 20 inspiring women of 2021.

“I am thrilled to work with Room to Read to help enhance equal access of children to books and educational opportunities so that no child will be left behind as we work together to build a more inclusive and just world. In particular, I look forward to supporting girls to pursue their educations and chosen life paths, expanding access to school libraries in high-poverty areas, and fostering a culture of literacy and love for reading within Vietnam.”

- Dr. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

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