Books for Classrooms: Keeping Books Diverse Despite Book Bans

an image of three teachers holding books

Back in 2016, when Arizona's teachers took to the streets to protest, Linda Laird, an Assistant City Planner, had an eye-opening moment: It seemed Arizona's lawmakers weren't planning on fully backing public schools anytime soon. From this sobering revelation, "Books for Classrooms" was born - a shining light in an otherwise gloomy scenario.

a photo showing teachers with their new booksPhoto courtesy of Books for ClassroomsPhoto courtesy of Books for Classrooms

The heartbreaking sight of classrooms missing vital educational resources was the spark that ignited this project as a response to the systemic neglect of schools. But more than just being a solution to a problem, Books for Classrooms stood up for something powerful: the idea that every child should see a bit of themselves in the books they read. This isn't just about a passion for reading; it's about embracing diversity, championing social justice, and crafting young minds into globally-aware citizens.

You'd think a global pandemic would have slowed them down, but thanks to a tight-knit community backing them all the way, they've gifted over 47,000 books to about 700 classrooms, touching the lives of more than 18,000 kids. And they're just getting started.

The Latine community is rich in culture, stories, and history. Yet, there's a noticeable gap in the representation of Latine and other POC voices in the literary world, especially in classrooms.

Photo courtesy of Books for ClassroomsPhoto courtesy of Books for Classrooms

It Takes a Village

The start has been promising, but to keep this ball rolling, sustainability is key. That's why Books for Classrooms is constantly on the lookout for support through fundraisers and donations.

You can also request their recommended book list and promote diverse reading in your school!

"Books for Classrooms" is more than a project – it's a movement. It's a call to communities everywhere to tap into their power. By rallying behind such causes and rooting for diversity in books, we can play our part in reshaping the future of Latine literature.

a photo of kids reading books

Photo courtesy of Books for Classrooms

Photo courtesy of Books for Classrooms

In a time when libraries face threats like dwindling funds and book bans, ventures like "Books for Classrooms" remind us of the magic of community effort. So, here's an idea: Why not join in? Yes, it’s a huge task, but in the wise words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

flowers, a glass and other items for an ofrenda
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a group of flowers in a vase

Day of the Dead is a holiday traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2 and serves as a way to connect, honor, and remember our loved ones who have passed on to the afterlife. Building an ofrenda goes back to the Pre-Hispanic era as a way to celebrate life and death. This tradition centers around creating an altar with decorations and items that loved ones enjoyed while they were still among the living.

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