Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Looking for Diverse Books: Subscribe to Literacy

Our home has big books, small books, picture books, chapter books, mystery books, history books, and we even started subscribing to literacy books. 😃

Prior to ordering subscription boxes, I would purchase books online, shop at national bookstore chains, school book fairs, or check them out from the library. I love the library, but I was notoriously late at returning the books or they'd get mixed in with our collection and I couldn't find them. Whatever method I chose, I was intentional about getting my children multicultural books along with a book of their choice. 

One day, Bethany Edwards of Biracial Bookworms followed me on Twitter, and I went to her profile to check out her feed. That's when I discovered that there were subscription boxes for books. Not any children's books, but books that promoted black/African-American culture. 

Recently, I posted this on Facebook in regards to Roxanne V. Young's article about schools failing to teach black literature:
I was fortunate to grow up in a household where black literature was prevalent. I grew up a military dependent and when we resided in the States, we lived in predominately white communities (to this day, my parents are still the only black family on their street) and attended schools where we were often the only or one of few children of color. From Florida, to White Settlement, Texas; to Cheyenne, Wyoming, my parents were intentional about exposing my siblings and I to black American culture through literature and documentaries on VHS. If you've read my latest blog, you'd know my struggles as a child. It was through black literature that I found solace, hope, pride, and the tenacity and will to live. I agree that black children need to know the works of those who came before them, but black literature and ethnic studies courses should be enjoyed by all so that we can learn from and embrace one another's stories and experiences.
Like my parents, I make a conscious effort to ensure that my children have books, toys, and experiences where they can see images of themselves because it's often lacking in greater society. Fortunately, times have changed because I had to dig through shelves to find dolls or books that were reflections of myself when I was growing up. In fact, when I was a little girl, the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) began documenting the numbers of books that were written or illustrated by African Americans. In 1985, only 18 of 2,500 children's books published were created by African Americans, thus eligible for the Coretta Scott King Award.


Most of the biographies that my dad bought us were also Coretta Scott King books which makes sense now.

In 1994, the CCBC began keeping track of the numbers of books written by or about Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Latinos. Looking at the table below, you can see that the number of books either by or about people of color has increased significantly since the CCBC began their documentation.

Source: Cooperative Children's Book Center

Many of the books on my daughter's top shelf are my old Coretta Scott King books, and a few of the subscription books are on the middle shelf. 

Let's Talk Subscription

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

About: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails high-quality books to children until they begin school, no matter their family’s income. In 1995, inspired by her own father's inability to read or write, Dolly Parton launched her imagination library in Tennessee, where she was born and raised. The program which began in Tennessee now spans the nation and is global in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. 

Price: Free (children birth to 5)

What You'll Get:  Children who live in certain zip codes will receive a free classic or multicultural book monthly until their fifth birthday.

Check out our feature with  United Way of Tarrant County.

Well Read Inc

About: Well Read's mission is to promote enhanced literacy in the African-American community by providing exciting culturally relevant books to children ages 3-12 through our monthly subscription box service. It’s important that we work together to tackle this issue. Therefore, with every paid one-year subscription, a free subscription is given to a child in a low-income household. Well Read seeks to be a part of the answer to closing the achievement gap and empowering our children for a bright future.

Price: Starts at $24.95/month

What You'll Get: You'll receive 2 to 3 books based on the month's theme (Christmas, New Year's, Black History, Women's History, etc). The books are targeted towards your child's age (3-12) and gender. 

Black Butterfly Beautiful

I'm not going to lie, I subscribed to Black Butterfly Beautiful (BBB) solely because of the packaging. One of my friends posted that her daughter received her first box, and I FELL IN LOVE with the design. Thus, I decided to subscribe to BBB as well.

About: Black Butterly Beautiful was launched by Journi Prewitt on her 17th birthday. She set out to inspire her cousin and other young girls who didn't see themselves positively represented in mainstream media. BBB's mission is to empower, uplift, and encourage young people of color by providing items that help address underrepresentation, uncover black history, and spark inspiration. They also created a box for boys called Black Dragonfly.

Price: Starts at $29.99/month (Black Butterfly ships monthly and Black Dragonfly every other month)

What You'll Get: You'll receive one book along with trinkets and a few products from black-owned businesses. The books are targeted towards your child's age and gender (4-19 for girls and 4-15 for boys).

My daughter really liked the scented unicorn bath crumbles from Sweet On You Beauty Bakery (black-owned).

I highly recommend you try the magic of both Well Read and Black Butterfly subscriptions for a few months to determine which box is better suited for your child(ren) and family. I thoroughly enjoyed the selection of books, and my children enjoyed the fun items from Black Butterfly. I think our next subscription purchase will focus more on vocabulary. 

If you're in the Fort Worth area, visit the Dock Bookshop. It's a local black-owned bookstore.

Whatever route you choose, make sure your children have something to read.

Don't forget to sign-up to receive our FREE ebook for newsletter subscribers only.

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1 comment:

  1. Diverse books are important because they teach your child about others. They help promote respect and empathy for all people. If your child love to read this types of then that is good for his/ her future, they know the important things of life by reading these books. If your child weak in any other subject then hire tutor for him. Visit: https://smiletutor.sg/ for hiring best tutor for your child.


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