Read for the Lead is a read-out-loud initiative and author interview series with NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones and his charitable foundation, the Erik Jones Foundation, to promote childhood literacy, reading resources, and North Carolina-based authors and books.


Throughout 2022, North Carolina Humanities is helping select North Carolina-based authors and books for Erik Jones to read out loud during his #READwithErik Facebook reading events to encourage childhood reading and imagination. After each read-out-loud event, North Carolina Humanities is supplying free reading resources and books as well as conducting exclusive interviews with the featured book’s author. Author interviews are available on North Carolina Humanities’ YouTube page.


Beyond #READwithErik, the Erik Jones Foundation will support North Carolina Humanities holistically throughout 2022 by promoting and participating in the activities surrounding our North Carolina Reads statewide book club and other book-centric programs for community centers, schools and libraries.



Read for the Lead Author Interviews and Featured Books:


December 2021/ January 2022: Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom written by Kelly Starling Lyons

Ty can’t wait to ride his brand-new scooter! While other kids zip and zoom by all Ty can do is wobble! Ty wants to give up, but a new friend helps Ty give it another try. You can learn more about North Carolina-based author Kelly Starling Lyons at






February 2022: Excellent Ed written by Stacy McAnulty

All the Ellis kids are excellent in their own way. So excellent, in fact, that the family dog, Ed, begins to worry. What if he’s not excellent enough to belong in this family? You can learn more about North Carolina-based author Stacy McAnulty at

Watch Read for the Lead Author Interview




March 2022: No Buddy Like a Book written by Allan Wolf

Calling readers and daydreamers, word mavens and lovers of adventure! This celebration of the power of books is a rallying cry for letting imaginations soar. Allan Wolf is the author of picture books, poetry, and young adult novels. Allan is a two time winner of the North Carolina Young Adult Book Award and the prestigious Claudia Lewis Award for Poetry.  You can learn more about North Carolina-based author Allan Wolf at

Watch Read for the Lead Author Interview



April 2022: Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished written by Camille Andros

Charlotte is a serious scientist. She solves important problems by following the scientific method. She has all the right equipment: protective glasses, a lab coat, a clipboard, and a magnifying glass. What she doesn’t have is space. She has so many brothers and sisters (she is a rabbit, after all) that she is too squished to work on her experiments! Can she use science to solve her problem? You can learn more about North Carolina-based author Camille Andros at

Watch Read for the Lead Author Interview


May 2022: The Wall written by Eve Bunting

In honor of Memorial Day, we selected a book that takes places just north of North Carolina in our nation’s capital of Washington, D.C. In this book a boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. We hope that this story encourages young readers to explore how the book portrays community, empathy, military service, and remembrance. NC Humanities and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post #9488 in Mecklenburg county worked together to donate book bundles to North Carolinians around the state that included a copy of The Wall, bookmarks, American flags, and more.


Latest Read for the Lead Author Interview:









About Erik Jones: The Erik Jones Foundation champions childhood reading, specifically by embracing literature and promoting the inherent value a book provides. The 25-year-old racer from Byron, Michigan, who now calls North Carolina home, is an avid reader who believes in the benefits of life long reading. Learn more at


This is a program of the North Carolina Center for the Book and is provided by NC Humanities.

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