Philadelphia resident Wanda Steward realized there’s no better time than the present. Now, she’s a published children’s book author.

Steward dropped out of high school after giving birth to her first child at 18 years old. Consequentially, she never learned how to read. After years of her illiteracy presenting obstacles in parenting and work, the mother of five decided to be proactive.

“All I could think about was, ‘I’m not getting any younger.’ I was desperate. It got to me,” Steward told

She began taking classes at the Center for Literacy to develop her literacy skills. Steward was then referred to the global literacy program where she began creating children’s stories. One year later, she compiled these short tales into the book The Little Chicken Named Pong-Pong. 

The best part is, it’s narrated by none other than actor Idris Elba, who stars in a commercial for the Project Literacy campaign. She was even able to FaceTime the heartthrob.

“He said he really believed in me,” Steward said. “He explained that he had problems reading, too. He said he really liked the book.”

Steward continues to take literacy classes and hopes to pen another book.