DETROIT – If kids can see themselves in the books they read, it opens up a world of possibilities, a world of understanding.
“It is essential that as we grow up and have hopes and dreams that we see ourselves in the literature around us, that we know that we too can be whatever we want to be. “said Cindy Eggleton, co-founder of Brilliant Detroit.
Brilliant Detroit, the organization that aims to create successful neighborhoods for kids, has partnered with Little Free Library to put more diverse books in the hands of local children.
“So there will be 14 citywide and a year of brand new free books written by authors of color. And that’s what we need… it’s an incredible effort,” Eggleton said.
This is all part of Little Free Library’s “Read in Color” initiative, which was launched last year in response to the murder of George Floyd.
Read in Color Libraries have been deployed in six cities, including Detroit.
Courtesy of Brilliant Detroit
“I have to tell you that especially during now, during COVID, during all the problems that exist in the world, last week when we started this, my heart was so full. We had about 100 people showing up. kids were thrilled and excited and picking up books, sitting down and reading them, and also just having fun for each other. It’s a beautiful thing, “Eggleton said.
From perspectives on racism and social justice to celebrating diverse voices including those of the LGBTQ + community, these books will be available at Little Free Library stations designated by Read in Color to expand book collections across Detroit.
And some stories come straight from the community.
“We plan to bring something special to this neighborhood. I think there are so many heroes around Detroit; we don’t always hear these stories,” Eggleton said.
One local author who will be featured at the Brightmoor Little Free Library is 11-year-old Gabriel Etheridge.
Discover Gabriel’s book here
“I wrote a book called ‘When I Grow Up, What Could I Be?’, It’s a book written by … my 8 year old father and I, and I went through different career possibilities of what I could be when I grew up, ”Etheridge said.
Etheridge said he was thrilled to see his book presented and that he hopes other children will be inspired.
“I hope other kids will understand that no matter what you look like, who you are, you can do and be anything, anything,” he said.
Eggleton said the rollout of the 14 Read in Color libraries is expected to be completed in October.
“We plan to pursue them forever. So we will find donors. We will find support,” she said.
The goal, Cindy said, is to have 24 sites by 2024.
To learn more about Brilliant Detroit or to donate, click here.
Alexandra Bahou of WXYZ first reported this story.