45 Bristol Street, New Haven, CT 06511 information@newhavenreads.org 203-752-1923

Just Books: Equity and Inclusion Project

Just Books Fundraiser

Since early May, New Haven Reads has been distributing thousands of books to children at meal pick-up locations. In June, we decided we needed to do even more for our students. We launched the Just Books project to raise money to purchase more diverse books for our students.

According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, only 5% of books depict Latinx characters, and only 10% of books depict Black characters. To best serve our students of color, we know that seeking more diverse books — Spanish language books, books written by Black and Brown authors, and books with main characters of color whose lives and experiences our students can relate to — is absolutely necessary.

Diverse books not only enable students to relate to and enjoy the books more, but also enable them to learn more. Professors Anna Lyon and Susan Colby found that “When children are not able to find themselves or their lives reflected in classroom literature, they are less engaged and interested in the reading process.” Conversely, when students feel a stronger connection to a book and have more conversations about it, they will, according to Professor Sandra Osorio, have “greater gains when it comes to reading and critical thinking skills.” 

We at New Haven Reads want to ensure that our students are given every opportunity to fully enjoy their books and to improve their reading skills, and the Just Books fundraiser allowed us to do just that. In total, we raised $8,104 from 121 donors. All of these proceeds will go to purchasing diverse books that will then be distributed throughout the summer.

Asked about the fundraiser’s outcome, Fiona Bradford, NHR’s Development Director, shared, “New Haven Reads has been inspired and delighted by the incredible response to our ‘Just Books: New Haven Reads Equity and Inclusion Book Project’ campaign. With the learning gaps and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these books are more important than ever in engaging students in reading this summer.”

Thank you to all of our supporters and to all of our NHR families!