Welcome to
Raising A Reader MA’s

Live! with an AUTHOR

Sponsored by PNC

Support Raising a Reader MA. Help close the literacy opportunity gap.

Join live conversations with authors who value reading, and Raising A Reader MA, as much as you do.

Rob Cocuzzo
ben mezrich

Register now for your invitation to:

  • Join live conversations with authors who value reading, and Raising A Reader MA, as much as you do.
  • Shape these conversations by helping to prioritize the session topics you most want addressed.
  • View the video archive of every session, wherever and whenever you want.

Join Us Live on Tuesday Evenings!

Now, more than ever, families need the joy, comfort and escape that books provide. Your donations will help to continue the critical early literacy parent workshops and provide culturally and age-appropriate books that encourage a lifetime of productive and responsible citizenship.

Please join us Tuesday evenings as we come together to celebrate the power of reading and the important role that Raising A Reader MA plays in developing strong readers across the state of Massachusetts.

Our LIVE! with an Author is a free online event series of intimate and inspiring conversations with notable authors from our community who champion our mission of closing the literacy opportunity gap.

Register once, and you’re guaranteed a seat at every upcoming LIVE! with an Author event. You’ll be invited to help shape each session in advance by submitting questions on the registration site or live during the event; video archives will be posted just as soon as each session concludes.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Be well!

Christine Ward, Executive Director, Raising A Reader MA

Register and view the conversation archive any time you like.

in conversation with Debbie Karch

Nataly Kogan is one of the leading global experts in optimizing your emotional health and elevating your leadership.

She’s the creator of the Happier Method™, founder and CEO of Happier, and author of Happier Now​, which was published in 2018.

By the age of 37, Nataly held top positions at McKinsey and Microsoft, was a ManagingDirector at a venture capital fund, and started or was a member of the senior team at 5 startups and tech companies.

But all of this overachievement came at a huge cost of stress and overwhelm, which was the catalyst for Nataly to give it all up to start her company, Happier, with this mission: To help millions of people thrive in work and life by improving their emotional health with science-backed skills and practices. Today, tens of thousands of people cultivate their emotional health and Elevated Leadership skills through Happier @ Work programs, online courses, and other learning tools.

Nataly is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker and has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including ​The Washington Post​, ​The New York Times,​ and The Dr.Oz Show.

Nataly came to the US as a refugee with her family when she was 13 years old, and one of her greatest accomplishments was learning how to speak English by watching Alyssa Milano on the classic 80s sitcom, ​Who’s The Boss?.

Nataly lives outside of Boston with her husband and daughter, and when she isn’t speaking or teaching, can be found painting colorful abstract art and cooking up a storm in her kitchen.

Ronald F. Ferguson is an MIT-trained economist who focuses social science research on economic, social, and educational challenges. He has been on the faculty at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983.

By the late 1980s,  Ron had begun to study education and youth development because academic skill disparities were contributing to growing wage disparity. For the past several years, his focus as AGI director has been an initiative first entitled the Boston Basics, now renamed simply The Basics. The Basics Strategy takes a socio-ecological saturation approach, collaborating with many partners to reach extended families with The Basics Principles, five principles of caregiving advice for parenting infants and toddlers.

Ron holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a PhD from MIT, both in economics. He is happily married and the father of two adult sons.

Tatsha Robertson is an award-winning editor and New York Times bestselling writer with more than twenty-five years’ experience handling investigative, feature, and news stories. Raised in Greenville, SC, she’s been an editor at People and Essence Magazines.

As the first female New York City Bureau Chief and National Rover for the Boston Globe, Tatsha began studying how parents raise successful children and brilliant adults …that was more than ten years ago. Tatsha has spoken at venues from Harvard University to colleges in China.

In conversation with Alan Solomont, former Ambassador to Spain and Andorra

Susan Lewis Solomont has more than thirty years of experience providing strategic philanthropic counsel to private foundations. She frequently speaks with organizations and groups on topics such as women in business, diplomatic life abroad, travel, and philanthropy.

In 2013, Susan was named International Woman of the Year by FEDEPE, the leading organization for female executives and directors in Spain. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in education from Tufts University. She has two daughters, Becca and Stephanie, and a cockapoo named Stella Blu, who is the subject of her children’s book Stella The Ambassadog.

Her memoir, Lost and Found In Spain: Tales of an Ambassador’s Wife, focuses on her 2008 to 2012 post at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, where her husband, Alan Solomont, served as Ambassador under an appointment by President Barack Obama.

Alan Solomont is the former United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, and the Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University as of January, 2014.

in conversation with Christopher Castellani

Marianne Leone is an actress, screenwriter and essayist. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Post Road, Bark Magazine, Coastal Living, Solstice, and WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. She is the author of two memoirs, Jesse (Simon & Schuster) and Ma Speaks Up (Beacon Press.) She had a recurring role on HBO’s “The Sopranos” as Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher’s mother. She has also appeared in films by David O. Russell, Larry David, John Sayles and Martin Scorsese. Jesse is published in Italy by Nutrimenti.

Christopher Castellani is the acclaimed author and artistic director of Grub Street.

in conversation with Kennedy from the Karson and Kennedy Show on Mix 104.1

Ben Mezrich has authored twenty books, with a combined printing of over 6 million copies, including the wildly successful Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, which spent sixty-three weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, and sold over 2 million copies in fifteen languages and was adapted into the #1 Box Office movie 21.

His book, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List and spent 18 weeks there in hardcover and paperback, as well as hit bestseller lists in over a dozen countries. The book was adapted into the movie The Social Network and was #1 at the box office, won Golden Globes for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best score, and was nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 3 including Best Adapted Screenplay. Mezrich and Aaron Sorkin shared a prestigious Scripter Award for Best Adapted Screenplay as well. Mezrich is the only non-fiction author to have two number one box office movie adaptations which has earned him the title of Sexiest Author on People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive List.

Ben’s photo credit:  Chrisclose.com 

in conversation with Bill Barke

New York Times bestselling author Ace Atkins has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar three times, twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. He has written nine books in the Colson series and continued Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser character after Parker’s death in 2010, adding seven best-selling novels in that series.

A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Time, Outside and Garden & Gun. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he’s friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

in conversation with Heidi Legg

Claire Messud is the author of four novels and a book of novellas. The Burning Girl, her most recent novel,  was a finalist for the LA Times Book Award.  The Emperor’s Children, an international bestseller, was chosen by the New York Times as one of the 100 best books of 2006. Claire is a recipient of the Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has a book of essays coming out in October, Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write. She lives in Cambridge, MA, with her family.

James Wood is an essayist, critic, and novelist, currently a staff writer at The New Yorker (where he writes about contemporary fiction) and a Professor in the English Department at Harvard University. Born in Durham, England, in 1965, he has worked as an editor at The Guardian newspaper in London, and at The New Republic magazine in Washington D.C. He is the author of four books of essays, and a study of fiction entitled How Fiction Works (2008). He is also the author of two novels, The Book Against God (2003) and Upstate (June, 2018). His most recent work is Serious Noticing: Selected Essays 1997-2019 (2020). As a literary journalist, he has won a National Magazine Award, and as an author he has been twice shortlisted for the National Books Critics Circle Award.

Heidi Legg is the Founder of TheEditorial, host of Swing State with Tom Ashbrook and former Director of Special Projects at the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School.

in conversation with Heidi Legg

Dr. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist, bestselling author, award-winning Harvard lecturer, and expert on the behavioral science of power, presence, and prejudice. She earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2005 and was a professor at Harvard Business School from 2008 to 2017, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management from 2006 to 2008, and Rutgers University from 2005 to 2006. She continues to teach at Harvard Business School in executive education.

Amy is the author of the bestselling book Presence and she is currently writing her second book, Bullies, Bystanders, and Bravehearts (anticipated publication: 2021). She is one of 50 Women Who Are Changing the World by Business Insider. Her 2012 Ted Talk is the second most-viewed talk in TED’s history.

Heidi Legg is the Founder of TheEditorial, host of Swing State with Tom Ashbrook and former Director of Special Projects at the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School.

in conversation with Heidi Legg

David Sinclair is a tenured Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He is best known for his work on genes and small molecules that delay aging by boosting the body’s defenses and for being the first reprogram and rejuvenate tissues in vivo. He has published over 200 scientific papers, is a co-inventor on over 50 patent and patent applications and has co-founded a dozen biotechnology companies in the areas of rare diseases, inflammation, vaccines, infectious disease detection, eye diseases, diabetes, fertility, cancer, and biosecurity.

David’s first book Lifespan became a New York Times best seller in 2019. He has a citation index (h-index) of 94, serves as founder and Co-Chief Editor of the scientific journal Aging, is a board member of companies, and has received 36 awards including being one of Australia’s leading scientists under 45, the Australian Medical Research Medal, the NIH Director’s Pioneer award, TIME magazine’s list of the “100 most influential people in the world” and the “Top 50 people in healthcare.” In 2018, he became the equivalent of a knight as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his work in medical research, science communication, and national security.

Heidi Legg is the Founder of TheEditorial, host of Swing State with Tom Ashbrook and former Director of Special Projects at the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School.

in conversation with Billy Costa

Robert Cocuzzo is the editor-in-chief of Nantucket Magazine and New England Living as well as the author of Tracking the Wild Coomba and The Road to San Donato. Cocuzzo splits his time between the South End of Boston, Nantucket, and Jackson New Hampshire with his wife Jenny and 19-month-old daughter Vienna.

Billy Costa is an Emmy award-winning and popular radio personality with KISS 108-FM in Boston.



YOU CAN HELP US share and maintain resources to support families with children ages 0 to 6 during the uncertain time of COVID-19. We will be having a themed story of the week, including a storytime and activities to enjoy at home, and have shared our family literacy calendar with daily tips to help families engage with their young children. Available in both English and Spanish!