Read Across America   March 2, 2021

Calling all bookworms! Our first online event of 2021 is a fun-for-all-ages celebration of reading.

Join Team First Book Portland as we listen to our featured guests reading from their favorite books—for kids and grown ups alike.

When: Tuesday, March 2; 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Where: From the comfort of your home (via Zoom)

Meeting ID: 842 5101 9790
Passcode: 867170

Suggested Donation: Free!


Ama Darkwa Holmes is a wife, mother, educator, and lifelong learner. She is a first-generation immigrant from Ghana, West Africa and at 6 years old she and her family moved to America to pursue educational opportunities and a better life. She loves writing books with important messages and lessons for children, and she diligently seeks opportunities to serve and inspire children everywhere. Learn more at

David Becker is Director of Strategic Partnerships of Vooks, a kid-safe, ad-free streaming library of read-aloud animated storybooks. Vooks is trusted by parents, loved by teachers, and enjoyed by millions of children around the world. Learn more at

Debby Dodds is the author of Amish Guys Don’t Call, and her work has been published in The Sun, xoJane, Portland Family Magazine, Stumptown Underground, and elsewhere. In Portland, she has performed with the comedy show Spilt Milk and done readings at Off the Page at The Empty Stage, The Other Side, and Grief Rites. Learn more at

Natalia Ruiz and Alla Arutcheva are authors of Mimi, Shero of Love. They are also founders of Girls Lead Summit (GLS), a peer-to-peer mentorship program for girls 8 to 14 years old. The vision of GLS is to help young women unveil their inner power, lead by example, and in turn help shape a new generation of female leaders.

Sam Smith is a freelance commercial writer and children’s book author. Her first picture book, Cate’s Magic Garden, celebrates the power of positivity. Sam has served on the SCBWI PA WEST Leadership Team, participates in two writing critique groups, and loves writing poetry for people of all ages. She also runs the Lincoln Elementary School annual Read-A-Thon fundraiser. Sam lives with her husband and their two sons in Pittsburgh.