FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WNDB Establishes Educators Making a Difference Grants To Support Diverse Books by Diverse Authors
February 8, 2022
Washington, DC — We Need Diverse Books has learned that an eighth-grade teacher in Charles City, Iowa, was placed on administrative leave in November after she shared a short story from our Fresh Ink anthology with her class. The story, “Catch, Pull, Drive,” by Schuyler Bailar, features a teen transgender swimmer and was challenged due to “strong language.” The teacher, Alecia Feckers, has since resigned from her position.
Despite this news, WNDB remains committed to creating a world where everyone can find themselves in the pages of a book. We proudly featured “Catch, Pull, Drive” in Fresh Ink as it draws from Bailar’s own experience as the first openly transgender swimmer in the NCAA Men’s Division I. The story’s “strong language” was used to portray what trans youth experience today.
“WNDB stands with diverse creators like Schuyler Bailar and with educators like Alecia Feckers who bring inclusivity into their schools and libraries,” said WNDB Executive Director Caroline Richmond. “We believe that books can teach empathy and that, more than ever, readers need books to be ‘windows and mirrors’ into the lives of diverse communities.”
In support of teachers like Feckers, WNDB is establishing the Educators Making a Difference Grants for educators who believe in the importance of incorporating diverse books by diverse authors into their schools, libraries, and educational organizations. These grants will provide up to $2,000 per recipient and can be used toward buying diverse titles, hosting diversity-focused student or community events, or any other project that supports diverse literature. Applicants will be asked to complete a form that details how the grant money will be used.
In addition, WNDB will donate 1,000 copies of Fresh Ink to schools and libraries nationwide. The giveaway will open on February 8, 2022, and is open to educators nationwide.
WNDB is also widening our current Emergency Grants to include diverse teachers, librarians, and educators in need. These grants provide up to $1,000 for recipients experiencing financial hardship, due to medical bills, natural disasters, COVID-19, loss of employment (including reasons such as discrimination, anti-CRT, or book ban protests), and more. Applicants must meet the criteria described on the grant application.
Since our inception, WNDB has strived to support diversity in literature and we will continue to do so in 2022 and beyond.
About We Need Diverse Books. We Need Diverse Books is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that runs twelve exciting initiatives united under one goal—to combat systemic racism and oppression by creating a world where everyone can find themselves on the pages of a book. Established in 2014, WNDB strives to support and amplify diverse literature by mentoring marginalized creators, providing resources to diverse publishing professionals, and donating diverse books to schools and libraries nationwide. Learn more at diversebooks.org.
Alaina Lavoie, firstname.lastname@example.org