DETROIT - For Detroit resident S.F. Hardy, if kids can't read, "we can't do anything."
She would know, working as a librarian in the city and publishing children's books in a city where the literacy rate for adults sits around 50%.
For Hardy, tackling such a divide starts before kids even have their first book in their hands.
"We have to get to the point where we want to read as a day-to-day activity, whether it be books or newspapers or magazines or the ingredients on the back of the box," she said.
Hardy is the latest personality to be featured in FOX 2's Women in Literacy segment that discusses the role that children's authors have in literature for kids and the importance of minority representation in those books.
It was an important part for the Wayne State graduate when she was growing up.
"Reading for me - it was an outlet and an escape and a way to express myself in the home as well as outside the home," she said.
Since then, she's authored multiple children's books that focus on being inclusive for marginalized people and young boys. Her goal? To saturate the market with her literature.
So far, she's put out her four children's books, including the second in a series of books called "Bush Baby Bush Baby, Go to Sleep."
"You don't have a lot of children's books - it's starting to change - that include boys in the books or boys of color in the books," she said.
But she's not just writing books, but mentoring kids in preparation for when it's time to start reading.
"We talk about the importance of cultivating joy. We do some reading, we do some singing, some dancing, some hands-on activities like making letters in the sand, so we're not teaching children to read but we're getting them ready to learn how to read," she said.
Learn more about S.F. Hardy and her podcast as well as her next book on her website SFHardybooks.com