Literary Activism

Action Item: Literacy Activities and a Classroom Library in NY and CA

Late last year, librarian Angie Manfredi took to Twitter with a challenge: How many classrooms in need could the book community fund over the course of one day? Other librarians and bloggers and authors and industry folk joined in, and it quickly became apparent that there were a whole lot of people out there just itching to do some good, whether by spreading the word or opening their wallets or both.

On Inauguration Day, we (we being Kelly Jensen and Leila Roy) put together a list of classrooms in need, with a focus on classrooms that served immigrant, refugee, and ESL communities. With the help of Book Twitter, every single one of those classrooms was fully funded by the end of the day. Since then, every Friday, we’ve continued to highlight and advocate for similar classrooms, and again and again Book Twitter has come through.

Now, we’re bringing our Fund ‘Em Fridays to you, the Book Riot Community. Please boost, donate if you can, or even pick out a classroom to personally champion!

And now, our classrooms of the week, both of which serve largely immigrant populations. Our first school is in the ‘highest poverty’ bracket (65%+ of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch), and is looking to fund a collection of hands-on, literacy-based activities:

Reading is Fundamental, in New York, NY:

The students in my first grade class are learning how to read. They needs lots of hands-on reading activities in order for them to be able to manipulate letters, words and sounds. I have asked for The Classroom Magnetic Letter Kit, the Giant Magnetic Words Kit, Magnetic Word Builders and the Magnetic and Wipe Board in order for students to have the opportunity to work together and build words, and eventually full sentences. This activity will help them with spelling and writing, as well as reading. It is important for students to have a strong phonetic awareness in order for them to be able to manipulate sounds.

Our second classroom is in the ‘high poverty’ bracket (40-64% of students eligible for free or reduced lunch), and is looking to fund a classroom library filled with a broad range of books geared towards different reading levels and different interest:

Level Our Library, in Los Angeles, CA:

My students come from a diverse neighborhood. They are all eager learners despite the many challenges they may face. They come from diverse backgrounds both economically and culturally. I am proud to say our school is all inclusive and we celebrate the diversity of our students to the max. Many of our families are first and second generation immigrant families new to the country planting seeds for their own success and for future generations to come. Education is top priority regardless.


Sometimes, the sheer enormity of all of the wrongs we have to right, the injustices we have to fight, the work we have to do… it can feel overwhelming. Funding a single classroom might feel like a drop in the bucket. But a single drop of water causes ripples, and a single classroom ultimately serves a larger community. Small actions make change. Join us.