Literary Activism

Friday Fund Day: Drop Some Dollars and Help Some Classrooms

Abigail Clarkin

Staff Writer

Abigail can often be found holding a book in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other. When she is not devouring stories (or dessert), Abigail trains for marathons and writes poetry about growing up with eight brothers and sisters. She enjoys working in marketing for a real estate developer and creating Instagram content for fun (@marathonandmunch) about all the tasty eats found in Providence, RI.

With the world being a difficult place for those of any marginalized background, one of the things those of us who are looking to do something can do is donate to those in need. Thousands of teachers each year ask for a little help with seeking supplies for their classrooms via Donors Choose; organizations that do work with at-risk communities like prison populations seek spare change to advocate for and bring literacy to those groups; and nonprofits that provide necessary resources to empower women and people of color are always hoping for a few bucks to make their vital work possible.

Enter: Friday Fund Days.

Book Riot readers have helped fund hundreds of classrooms over the last few years, and we’ll help bring funds to hundreds more. Each Friday, we’ll highlight two classrooms or other literacy-focused, important projects in hopes you’ll help them reach their goals to bring literature, advocacy, and education to others.

Even if you can’t spare money, any social sharing you can offer to the projects each week absolutely helps: you never know who’ll find it and have the means by which to make the project’s fundraising goals reached. More, you’ll bring awareness to the unmet needs in communities around the world, as well as right in your own back yard.

When all else feels hard or hopeless, remember that you can and do make a difference.

This Week’s Projects

1. We Need Diverse Books, Providence, Rhode Island ($215)

The Project

“Our students love to listen to read aloud stories, and they love to turn and talk to one another about the characters and big ideas in high quality texts. In our school, we want to bring books to our students that provide lots of opportunities for them to learn about diversity and inclusion.

We need to expand our collection of read aloud books to incorporate more diverse authors, characters, and ideas.

Students need books to be ‘windows and mirrors.’ They need to see characters who look like them (mirrors), and they need to learn about characters who look and live differently, as well (windows).”

Nearly all the students in this classroom are from low-income households; over 91% of the students receive free and reduced-price lunch and over 60% of the children in the school speak more than one language and are learning English. Some of the titles Ms. N is requesting are The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal.

Click here to donate to Ms. N’s classroom.

2. Build Our Library With Books Kids Can See Themselves In, Berwyn, Illinois ($229)

The Project

“Our students need characters that are believable and relatable. What better way to expose them to strong literature than to look to the experts that have awarded books high honors. Rudine Simms Bishop’s essay written almost thirty years ago references books as mirrors and windows that would allow all children to see themselves and the experiences of others in what they read.

With this selection of books, the students at my school would benefit immensely by seeing characters like themselves reflected in these stories.

They can look to them as hope, as leaders, as examples of what they can overcome.”

Nearly all the students in this classroom are from low-income households. Their teacher, Mrs. Gorzkowski is requesting books such as Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

The lives of students can be impacted by your generosity; donating to or simply sharing their classroom needs on social media can make such a huge difference. Thank you for being part of their learning journey.