Ayesha Curry had an epiphany while home-schooling her three children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As she watched her 6-year-old daughter Ryan learn to read, she understood exactly how frustrating the process could be, even under the best circumstances.
She and her husband, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry, knew they needed to do what they could to help others who had fewer resources.
"Parents are working, parents are busy, it takes money for some of these resources and time, time as well, which is hard to get. We started to look at the statistics for Oakland and we were amazed at the fact that only 19% of Black students and 24% of Latinx students are reading at their grade level, and that for me was just devastating," she told "Good Morning America." "If you have the skill set to read, the rest follows very easily. And to know there was a lack of literacy and reading comprehension in our community, we said, 'We have to tackle this head on.'"
"Oakland and our youth are such a special opportunity to realize some of their amazing talent, perspective and overall development," Steph added. "We want to be that village for them, just knowing how special of a community it is, but also how much work needs to be done. We want to do the work in a fun and creative new way."
The Currys' foundation, Eat. Learn. Play., aims to improve the lives of children in Oakland, and earlier this month, the organization launched an Eat. Learn. Play. bus to deliver meals and books to families who need them. Souped up with TV screens and basketball hoops, the bus also infuses an element of fun into the communities it will serve.
"The first step is to make sure [people] know what they will experience and that's being able to participate in the free library, there will be hot meal distribution, fresh produce distributions. There will also be fun activities with the basketball hoop and other sports and physical activities you can do, obviously within the safe space around the bus, so all three pillars are hit and will be mainstays within the bus," Steph said. "This gives us a chance to be nimble, to be on the road and meet the community where they are. There's not a set schedule but it's gonna be where it needs to be."
"It's extremely important knowing how blessed I am to play basketball, and I make kids aspire to find themselves through sports or watching the Warriors," he continued.
The literacy element feels especially personal, given the Currys' love of books. The couple has three children, Riley, 9, Ryan, and Canon, 3, and reading has become part of their everyday routine, said Steph, who recently partnered with book subscription service Literati.
"If they see you reading a book or if you try to dedicate certain times where you're like, 'Hey, put the iPad down,' it works out well," he said. "I will tell the kids, in a very nice and encouraging way, 'You need to go read a book. It'd be great for you. This is time where you can spend with yourself to stimulate your mind.' But I feel like they see us read, or we talk about it a lot, we talk about the importance of reading and just making it fun."
Ayesha and Steph Curry shared 10 of their children's favorite books with "Good Morning America," below.
1. "I Am Enough" by Grace Byers
2. "Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly
3. "Dream Big Little One" by Vashti Harrison
4. "Hair Love" by Matthew A. Cherry
5. "I Am Story" by Dan Yaccarino
6. "Ungifted" by Gordon Korman
7. "You Matter" by Christian Robinson
8. "Dork Diaries" series by Rachel Renée Russell
9. "Whose Knees Are These?" by Jabari Asim
10. "Ada Lace" series by Emily Calandrelli