Tangi’s Diverse Book Drive nears goal

Sep 7, 2021

Books featuring characters of diverse backgrounds are beginning to line the shelves of Old Rochester Regional School District libraries.

Tangi’s Diverse Book Drive — an effort led by Tri-Town Against Racism Co-Founder Tangi Thomas to make school libraries more inclusive — is only a few dozen books away from its goal with three weeks to go.

Thomas said her aim was to donate 25 books featuring characters of diverse ethnic, cultural and lifestyle-based backgrounds to each of the Tri-Town’s six public schools by late September.

Thomas’ hope is that diverse books help children and adults learn about the experiences of others, like the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, and those who are biracial, Indiginous and people of color.

Thomas said the books “provide perspectives on racism and social justice; amplify BIPOC, LGBTQ, and other important voices; and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers.”

Thomas said she is very happy with the support she has received from the community on the project.

One Rochester boy, Kelcey Robertson, fundraised for diverse books at Rochester Memorial School by selling lettuce he and his mother grew in their garden. Kelcey collected around $2,000 for the books — an effort which landed him a feature in the New York Times in March.

“We are thrilled that the community is invested in making sure we have many diverse books in our schools,” she said. “There are so many excellent diverse books out there that we would like to get into the hands of our young people.”

Those interested in donating can visit the book drive’s Amazon wish list at amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2GNPDX7S4QJE4?ref_=wl_share or its page on Bookshop.org at bookshop.org/shop/tangisdrivefordiversebooks for a list of books Thomas would like to add.

Tri-Town Against Racism also recently donated five fully-stocked backpacks to students at ORR Junior High.

“We know people have been struggling in many ways throughout the pandemic,” said Thomas. “As president of TTAR, I feel it’s important to support our community in practical ways. We hope to make this an annual backpack event that will in time serve more kids who need a helping hand.”

The group is also holding an event on Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. to celebrate the opening of its newest Little Free Diverse Library at Ned’s Point. The event is open to the public and will feature refreshments and a book giveaway.