Read To Me Series


Having identified that one in four children in the US grow up not knowing how to read, DERT is a social venture project that supports early childhood literacy by re-imagining classic works of literature into newly designed paperback books. All profits go to literacy projects that help families participate in high quality, educational early childhood services.

The books in the Read to Me Series (Read To Me, Play With Me and Count With Me) were created and published by DERT in the fall of 2018. The three books are targeted at the littlest of littles and created to inspire families with preschool children to read together on a regular basis. The books engage children in dialogue with a set of imaginary friends who demonstrate the joy of reading, while providing parents and caregivers with an outline of the educational benefits of reading together.

The Read to Me Series were written and illustrated by Brooklyn-based designer Sage Smith. Sage evokes themes of childhood and magic in the design for modern audiences and her concept surrounds ideas such as inclusivity, love and acceptance. For example, the imaginary friends are intentionally illustrated to not look like any certain kind of person, race or gender, so any child can identify with the characters in the books. Sage uses fun, clean, and bright designs to encourage children to interact with what they are reading. Compared to other children's books on the market, The Read To Me Series stands out for being both bold and simple at the same time - while always maintaining a sense of fun.


Silver in Book Design 2018

Created by:

Design Director

Sage Smith

Design Company




Design Team

Creative Director: Marcos Chavez Designer, illustrator and writer: Sage Smith