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Young Warriors Reading Project: A Bookish Charity!

Justina Ireland

Staff Writer

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows both currently available from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. Her essay “Me, Some Random Guy, and the Army of Darkness” is in the forthcoming The V-Word, an anthology of personal essays by women about having sex for the first time, published by Beyond Words (S&S). Blog: Justina Ireland Twitter: @tehawesomersace

It’s the time of the year where most of us start to think about donating to charity if we haven’t already, as well as cleaning out those over-cluttered book cases. If you’re like me, you wonder what to do with all those books. Here’s a thing: send them along to the Young Warriors Reading Project.

What is the Young Warriors Reading Project? Here is an explanation from it’s founder, Luis Guerrero:

My project is called the Young Warriors Reading Project, I selected “warrior” not only because it is the English translation of my last name, but it also identifies these youth as warriors or fighters. Some of these young adults have grown up fighting and given their current situation they need to continue fighting to return to their communities and be productive, successful members of society. Currently the majority of the youth in the juvenile justice system are Latino and Black. Most come from single parent homes and do not have positive male role models. Others come from homes where both parents work and this also leaves the youth with no adequate parental supervision. Most of the Latino youth are first generation to be in the United States and other are have families that are undocumented and some of the youth themselves are also undocumented.  Currently the books the youth in detention have access to are incomplete, they have been destroyed and are missing pages. The books that are intact are multiple copies of the Holy Bible.

But my project is not just being limited to juvenile detention I am also planning on going into the neighborhoods and reaching young adults there and hopefully keep some of them out of the juvenile system. My plan is to grasp the attention of these young adults by reading memoirs of people they can relate to, I believe this will captivate them and get them into reading. I then want to move into the youth reading books on their culture and cultural/political leaders, and then challenge them to read about other cultures and their cultural/political leaders. I also want to have books on a variety of topics that the youth can also select from. But the project is not simply going to be about reading, I would want them to also journal about how a particular book resonated with them; there would also be book discussions and allow the youth to share about what book they are reading and what makes it an interesting book.

Sound cool? Donate books in good condition to:

Young Warriors Reading Project
P.O. Box 1590
Porter, TX 77365

Book shelves not so cluttered? Then consider donating a book off of the Wish List. Special thanks to super librarian Faythe (@farre on Twitter) for helping to curate a list that focused on books with Latin@ main characters.