One County One Book: Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match

The One County, One Book initiative (OCOB) of the Great Start Collaborative is in its fourth year of a county-wide book distribution to encourage family reading at home in the early years.  Ten thousand families across Kent County slated to receive books.  The 2024 book Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios (Lee & Low Books), was selected for its engaging story and celebration of diversity.

“We know that early literacy represents an unprecedented opportunity to bolster literacy and significant brain development in our little ones,” says Chana Edmond-Verley, CEO of Vibrant Futures and vice chair of the Great Start Collaborative.   “Leveraging the purposeful action of parents as first and longest running teachers and equipping families with books, literacy strategies, and access to digital coaching represents breakthrough action for Kent County’s literacy standing.”

Distributing 10,000 books and early literacy kits is no small feat,” says Paula Brown, director of the Great Start Collaborative.  “It truly takes a village to champion the One County One Book effort.  When an entire community comes together for its little ones something powerful is going to happen.”

“I wrote this book to affirm each child’s creativity and uniqueness! Picture books, where art meets text, are an ideal place for children, parents, teachers and caregivers to come together for book joy and a multi-generational literacy experience. I’m so proud to be a part of Kent County’s celebration of literacy!” says author Monica Brown.

The OCOB launched with a press conference held on April 23rd at the Grand Rapids Public Library main branch. WZZM 13 covered the launch which included a guest appearance by author Monica Brown. Melissa Hartley, GSFC Parent Representative, shared her experiences as a parent and grandparent and why the book was important to her. John Robinson, Head Start For Kent County, shared his experiences growing up and how the book resonates with is life. Overall the launch was a success with a special visit from the Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Lab preschool classroom. Two preschoolers were able to ask questions of the author. The launch ended with Nantucket Bakery cookies and cupcakes for everyone!

A special thank to Kevin Kammeraad, KDL, for creating an amazing video capturing the delivery of the books and launch event. The video can be seen on our FaceBook page @GreatStartKent. We are excited for 10,000 families to receive their Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina book!


Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.