This month We Need Diverse Books is celebrating our second round of Educators Making a Difference Grants! WNDB has directly impacted over 21,000 students with this program, which provides up to $2,000 to educators who are eager to share diverse books with their students, but who lack the funding to do so. During this grant cycle, WNDB will award over $67,000 to 35 educators.
“Because of the work you do, my diverse group of kids will be able to read books where the characters look, sound, and remind them of themselves,” said educator Michelle Bruno, from William Allen High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “When students find books that truly resonate with them, they become lifelong readers and learners.”
Our spring 2023 grantees are spread across 24 states, from California and Colorado, to Kansas and Montana, to Vermont and Georgia. The recipients will utilize their funds in creative and innovative ways, such as:
- Initiating a “Book Bingo” project to encourage kids to read at home instead of opting for screen time.
- Creating an anthology with students that celebrates their community and the people who live in it.
- Curating a diverse cookbook section at a middle school library to encourage students to discuss different cultures and cuisines.
“All year our students have been asking for particular books, and over and over again I’ve had to tell them, ‘No, we don’t have that one.’ I am so excited to finally give them an enthusiastic, ‘YES! Here it is!’ “ said librarian Amanda Carrico, from Millington Primary School in Millington, Tennessee.
These grants help WNDB fulfill our core purpose: to help children see themselves in the pages of a book. As book bans grow nationwide, this edict has taken on even more urgency. One educator, whose district has faced book challenges, is hopeful for the help this grant can provide.
“Last school year, my district was in the news due to parent concerns regarding multiple books in a school’s library collection. The district has worked diligently to balance parental concerns and rights while maintaining that diversity is needed and welcomed in their schools,” they said, preferring not to be named. “My hope is that with these books and a broader view, students can start to see and appreciate the differences around them.”
Together, we can make a difference. WNDB would like to thank everyone who supported this program, and the educators who work every day to bring diverse texts into their students’ lives.