NAACP chapter collects diverse early literacy books for families in the New River Valley

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 5:13 AM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - For the first time, a local NAACP chapter is on a mission to bring diverse children’s books into the homes of families throughout the New River Valley through a month-long book drive.

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island,” Walt Disney is quoted as saying.

And this month the Montgomery-Radford-Floyd chapter of the NAACP is collecting treasure that looks like the diverse world in which we live.

“Our focus is not only on having books whose authors are under-represented minorities - Black and brown, Asian, Native American peoples - but also the characters in their books,” NAACP education co-chair Karen Eley Sanders said.

Through extensive research, Sanders explained the education committee came up with a list of early literacy books that showcased families of different races, religions, abilities and lifestyles.

“We also want families to see themselves in the books,” she said.

From books about biracial families to black history, to religious celebrations to kids with disabilities, to Appalachian heritage, there’s something for everyone on the NAACP’s Amazon wish list.

“For the literacy book drive, we’re focusing on books that are for children from zero to age seven,” Sanders said.

All the books collected will be given to the school divisions in celebration of Children’s Book Week the first week of May. The superintendents will pass out the books to under-served, low-income kids of their choosing.

“For our superintendents, they were really committed to getting books in homes so that families could read together,” Sanders said. “We believe that having families read together at home can help move us in a positive direction.”

The NAACP of Montgomery, Radford and Floyd originally set out to collect 150 books. However, they doubled their goal within the first half of the month. Now their goal is to simply collect as many books as they can by the end of March.

Books can be donated in honor or memory of a person and that person’s name will be written in the book cover below, where the child who gets the book will be able to write his or her name.

All checks and books must be sent in by April 1.

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