Literary Activism

Action Item: Fill Diverse Classrooms In NC, SD, and TX With Diverse Books

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

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!

We’ve been funding these classrooms each week, thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Let’s push it a little further this week and try to accomplish a goal of funding three classroom projects. I suspect we can do this without much problem.

Ignite Your Passion for Reading Literature: Winfall, North Carolina


As a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher, I lack the necessary reading materials and resources to nurture and grow my students individual reading levels in my classes. As a teacher in a low-income/high poverty Title I school district located in rural northeastern North Carolina, I teach inquisitive learners in a school with limited funding and resources. Therefore, I find it difficult to meet the diverse needs of all of my students in the areas of reading and writing skills.


More Books for Developing Native Scholars: Porcupine, South Dakota


My students have made tremendous gains, but need to continue to be challenged. I am hoping to expand my library to something more full and extensive.

My students have changed from students who would never pick up a book, to saying wow, this is a really good book.

Many of them have made requests on what they like to read and have asked me to get it for them. This time there is an assortment of books from native authors, to books for developing young adults, to self-awareness books. I am hoping with this order of books my students can make the final push to having 70% on grade level. It’s been our goal for a while, but I believe we can achieve it.


For The Love Of Books: Amarillo, Texas


Can you ever have too many books? Books are my passion especially children’s literature.

Good books can take these kids places they may never go.

I will use these books to not only teach specific TEKS in my classroom but also give these kids something they might not ever get at home. Most of my students are refugees and a couple are brand new to this country. English is something that they don’t all have in common but when I tie a good book in with my lesson they get vivd pictures and animation and suddenly they are on the same page as the other students in my class. Books are universal.

They can go on adventuress journeys or find out about Pete The Cat and his Red shoes. They help them build vocabulary and make meaningful connections to their world. They teach them important life lessons such as kindness, love and compassion.

They can make them laugh out loud and sometimes even cry. Their faces light up each time I bring out a new book or if we are just reading our favorite for the 100th time. Please help us fill our classroom with these good books.