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Help diversify Little Free Libraries!

If you’re a denizen of the Roslindale social media space, you have no doubt heard of West Roxbury Diversity & Anti-Racist Little Libraries, which has been stocking Little Free Libraries in the area with books featuring People of Color and Indigenous POC; about LGBTQ+ persons; where people with disabilities, mental illness and learning difficulties are represented; that discuss and highlight different religions/beliefs; featuring people from different countries; about strong and influential women; or that promote body positivity.

This Changes Eveything

We recently worked with the group’s founder, Michael Fagone, to create a WR Diverse Libraries Wish List. If you would like to donate a book, you can now purchase it on Bookshop. Just change the shipping address when you check out to: Michael P. Fagone, 38 Salman Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132. You can also follow the project on Instagram @wrdiverselibraries.

Their list includes The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph. Writing from the perspective of a friend, Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs, an essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice.

Since we are in the midst of the Tokyo Olympics, the list also includes The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad. A powerful and vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school -- and two sisters on one's first day of hijab -- by an Olympic medalist and social justice activist. Paired with Hatem Aly's whimsical art, the book brings readers an uplifting story about new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and being proud of who you are.

Another new partner: Equity Intersection

We're also excited to partner with Equity Intersection, an equity, and justice education non-profit that offers adult education courses on all elements of equity, including disability. You can learn more about them and check out their Fall Catalogue at https://equityintersection.org/. Equity Intersection has created an annotated shelf featuring some of the books they use in their classes, which you can check here: https://bookshop.org/lists/books-on-equity-and-inclusion-presented-by-equity-intersection.

Their list includes The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me by Keah Brown, disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign. This thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays explores what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America. Equity Intersections uses passages from her writing in a course titled “Intersections: Disability, Gender, and Race" to explore the deep roots of othering people with disabilities in American popular culture.

The list also includes The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, who would have been 97 years old on August 2. At once a powerful evocation of Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain.

Winning the Green New Deal

The book consists of two letters, written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, which exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as a sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose, The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature. Equity Intersection uses Baldwin’s prose in a course that traces the evolution of prophecies about race and the future of the United States from the 1960's to the present.

Engaging kids in science with Boston STEM Lab

Community grows one relationship at a time. Here is one example: I met Eugenia Rojas when she stopped by to pick up a toy microscope I had posted on Buy Nothing Roslindale. I soon learned that Eugenia is a PhD neuroscientist and founder of Boston STEM Lab, which offers fun and engaging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) enrichment programs for children ages 3 to 9. We schedule time to chat and I discovered she always starts her programs by reading a storybook to engage children’s natural curiosity. And, just like that, a partnership was born!

Eugenia’s hands-on classes facilitate learning through play and inquiry, problem solving, critical and creative thinking. To learn more or to register for Fall programs, please visit www.bostonstemlab.com/. In the meantime, you can check out some of the books Eugenia uses in her classes at https://bookshop.org/lists/science-books-for-kids-presented-by-boston-stem-lab.

In Plants Can’t Sit Still, discover the many ways plants (and their seeds) move. Whether it's a sunflower, a Venus flytrap, or an exotic plant like an exploding cucumber, this fascinating picture book shows just how excitingly active plants really are. With a doctorate in biology, the author understands her subject, but equally important is her ability to communicate with well-chosen words that make the ideas fun and memorable for children. A new way to see the plants around us.

In The Color of Us, seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades. Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people. Karen Katz created The Colors of Us for her daughter, Lena, whom she and her husband adopted from Guatemala six years ago.

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