What is Literati?
As the name implies, we are head over heels for literature. A good book has the power to enchant and transform its reader. At Literati, we seek to create the opportunity for children to experience the deep joy of being lost in the pages of a beloved book.
So how does it work exactly? Every month we scour the globe and find 5 exceptional books that we deliver to your doorstep. These 5 books are curated around a specific theme (art, adventure, science, myth, history, culture and values) and chosen for the age of your child. Explore the books in your home for up to a week, keep the ones you love, and return the rest (shipping is free in both directions). Literati makes exposing your child to a planet of possibility while fostering a lifelong love of literature easy breezy.
That’s the long answer. The more succinct version: For parents, Literati is a monthly delivery of best-in-class children’s books – works of beauty, humor, resilience, sensitivity, and joy. For children, it’s Christmas every month! Sign up today at literatibooks.com
Who is Literati?
Literati is the brainchild of Jessica Ewing and Kelly Carroll. As best friends and co-founders, they are deeply involved in every aspect of Literati, from curation to accounting (though no surprise which of the two they prefer).
Jessica Ewing, Chief Executive Officer
Jessica studied Computer Science and Mathematics at Stanford University, and previously served as a Senior Executive at Google, developing consumer products. She was featured in Fast Company Magazine as one of Google “12 Most Innovative Minds”. She hold 4 patents in Design, and led the development of iGoogle, the Google Personalized Homepage (the little dashboard where you could add all the widgets). Jess is also a creative writer, naturalist, and lecturer. Jess believes the best way to learn is to follow whatever passion arises naturally, which informs the product design of Literati.
Kelly Carroll, Creative Director
Kelly is a writer, book artist and mother. While completing an MFA in Fiction at Brown University, she pursued interdisciplinary coursework in book arts at Rhode Island School of Design. During her undergraduate at Columbia University, she earned a B.A. in English & Comparative Literature and a Creative Writing Concentration in Poetry. As a mother, Kelly wants to ensure that her young son (a charter member of Club Neo) has a lifelong relationship to the alchemical space wherein literature, art and the book unite. Her favorite childhood books were Miss Rumphius and the Childcraft Encyclopedias. Lately, she hasn’t stopped swooning over A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers.
Charlie DeTar, Tech Lead
Charlie received his Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, and also earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Berkeley – tech with depth! Charlie spends as much time in nature as he does in front of a computer screen; those who know him recognize the soul of a poet (and the words to match). A favorite memory from childhood is listening, over and over again, to cassette tapes of his grandparents reading Winnie the Pooh for their grandkids – “wonderful, hilarious, most memorable when they cracked up at the jokes in the story.” For Charlie, love and literature naturally go together.
Cynthia Alexander, Director of Operations
Cindy is a mother of three, a grandmother of six as well as a former operating room nurse. Here at Literati, she makes sure all the trains run on time. She is truly a “woman who runs with the wolves.” She’s courageous, deeply spiritual, endlessly creative, and a lover of nature and family. She lives to celebrate life and serve others.
Hali Barbeau, Curator
Hali has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with the written word – a love she made sure to pass on when she interrupted a career in law and finance to spend twelve years raising her sons (now 12 and 14). For her, the “most perfect thing in the world was being curled up with the boys nestled on either side of me while I read them a story.” And she kept reading, volunteering every Thursday at the local library, coming in once a week to read to her sons’ classes, teaching Sunday School the last ten years (Pre-K and Kindergarten), and reading every week to children through Head Start. Hali has more direct experience of the world of children’s literature than the rest of the team combined. She lives with her husband and sons in a little red house that could have been taken out of the pages of one of her favorite childhood books, Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House.
Angelina Hawley-Dolan, Curator
Angelina is a researcher and Montessori preschool teacher in Boston, M.A. Currently she is co-founder and a Head of School at Aster Montessori in Cambridge MA, a school in the Wildflower Network founded by Sep Kamvar and the MIT Media Lab. She received her P.h.D. in Developmental Psychology from Boston College. Her research focuses primarily on art and morality and has been published in leading developmental journals such as Psychological Science, PLoS One, and Cognition. Angelina is also a certified Yoga instructor and teacher trainer in the Boston area. Coming from a family of artists, language and art have been an integral part of her life from an early age. As a mother of a three year old and a baby on the way, Angelina believes in the magic of stories and their ability to help children create the world around them.
Gaby Brabazon, Curator
Gaby is a writer, illustrator, and Montessori teacher living in the Boston area. She has been a voracious reader from a young age, when she was drawn into the literary world by the magic of Peter Pan. Since then, she has fallen into books of all genres but is especially taken by ghost stories, science fiction, magical realism, and history. Her most likely impulse buy is a gorgeously illustrated picture book (most recently, Home by Carson Ellis). Gaby holds a BFA in illustration and art history and an MFA in creative writing (Writing for Young People), both from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.