Access Books Diverse Book Drive
As adults we look fondly on the books that we grew up with. Unfortunately for Inner-City Los Angeles schools, many children are not granted this privilege. Aside from access to these books, oftentimes these books aren’t relatable or out of date. That’s where we come in.
Throughout the month of April, we are collecting new or gently used (no older than 5 years) books that feature people of color, LGBTQ themes, and strong stories for women & girls. Underrepresented children often do not have books in their school libraries that they can relate to. This not only makes them feel excluded, but it dissuades them from leisure reading.
Books will be donated to Access Books. Access Books provides books to inner-city schools where at least 90 percent of students live at or below the poverty line. Since 1999, Access Books has donated more than a million books, and each year, approximately 18,000 pre-kindergarten through middle school-aged children participate in their program!
We collected over 300 books for Access books. With the help of a special last minute donation from the LA Derby Dolls, we were able to get to almost 350! We’ve established a relationship with Access books and look forward to doing a ResisterhoodLA restoration in the fall.
4 QUESTIONS WITH EVENT ORGANIZER, JEFF MALONEY
1. Tell me about yourself
I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town, but wanted my life to be a cliche so I moved to the big city to try my luck. I love cats and making people happy with art.
2. Beyond the obvious NEED for more books in schools – why did you create this event?
Growing up as a gay man, I never read my first book with a gay character until college. It was The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. I never realized it, but stories with characters who were like me weren’t available in my school libraries. I was very fortunate, however, to have supportive parents with my coming out. This isn’t always the case for LGBT youth. Sometimes the only way they can learn about queer stories, stories that can help them feel worthy of living, is in their school libraries. Similarly to queer stories, many inner city schools lack childrens’ stories that represent the diverse and magical demographics that populate them. For those reasons, I decided it was time to raise awareness and make a change.
3. What was your favorite book growing up?
I remember as a kid LOVING this book called The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe. It was basically this absurd story about a vampire bunny who is turning vegetables into zombies, and a cat and dog duo who must stop these vegetables from destroying the town. I was just a weird kid who hated vegetables.
4. What’s a MUST HAVE in your picnic basket?
A must have item for any picnic basket is dried meats. It makes you seem so fancy to pull out some prosciutto or salami. Anything with a ridiculous French or Italian name is a bonus. After all, isn’t the goal of a picnic to look fancy and feel fancy?
ABOUT ACCESS BOOKS
At Access Books, our mission is to provide quality, high-interest books to school, classroom and community libraries.
We provide books to inner-city schools where at least 90 percent of students live at or below the poverty line. Most students at the schools we serve are children of color and children of immigrants. Since 1999, Access Books has donated more than a million books, and each year, approximately 18,000 pre-kindergarten through middle school-aged children participate in our program.
So many inner-city children never leave the five block radius of their home. Books can give them another world. Learn more about Access Books at: www.accessbooks.net