Great news! The Library has become a chapter in the Project LIT Community and is in the process of organizing both teen and middle grade Project LIT Book Clubs, contacting community organizations, schools, and authors, and connecting to students in White Plains. Our Project LIT goal will be to “read, discuss and celebrate books that affirm and value all students.”
It is a national grassroots literacy movement that is dedicated to increasing access to culturally sustaining books and promoting a love of reading. Dr. Jarred Amato and his Maplewood High School (Nashville, TN) students founded Project LIT Community in August 2016 after reading about book deserts. Simply put, book deserts are the hundreds of communities in the United States whose children and young adults have little to no access to books, making it challenging for young people to learn and enjoy reading and, therefore, creating literacy deserts and disenfranchised communities. A lack of a large amount of and access to quality books featuring black, brown, LGBTQ+, and culturally diverse students that address the interests and backgrounds of students in those communities is also an integral part of the creation of book deserts.
In response to reading about book deserts, Dr. Amato’s students organized book drives and created little libraries in their community to address this need, and also created model Project LIT Book Clubs whose goal was to engage teachers, parents, and students in book club discussion groups centered on quality diverse book titles that reflected the students interests, identities, and cultural backgrounds. Through grassroots efforts, as of 2019, there are more than 1,000 Project LIT chapters across 48 states. Chapter leaders work in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and libraries in urban and rural areas throughout the United States.
How will it work in White Plains?
Starting in October, the Library will host teen and middle grade monthly virtual book discussions highlighting Project LIT recommended titles. Some of our first Project LIT book clubs will discuss one of our Fall One Book, One White Plains books: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Stamped will be the featured book for the October 7 teen book club (available as an eBook and digital audiobook through OverDrive and in our print collection.)
In October, the Grades 4-6 Project LIT Book Club will read El Deafo by Cece Bell (available as an eBook on OverDrive, as an eBook on Hoopla, and in our print collection). The group will virtually meet to discuss the book at 4:30pm on October 14. On November 17, the group will also be discussing Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You in a special caregiver-child session of the club. The discussion of Stamped was moved to November for parents and caregivers to have the opportunity to take part in the Race Consciousness Workshop on October 21 which could help facilitate discussions between them and their child while reading Stamped. More information on the November book club will be forthcoming.
More information about the virtual conversation that will take place on October 28 with Dr. Kendi, author of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You and How to Be an Antiracist, can be found here.
Project LIT Community book clubs, alongside recommended reading, such as the monthly Dive into Diversity column and Antiracism reading lists, and programs such as the Dr. Kendi conversation and the Race Consciousness Workshop on October 21, are just another part of our efforts to expand community conversation; promote equity, inclusion, diversity and antiracism; and work towards a more positive White Plains, and world.
Project LIT Community Booklists
Lists of middle grade and teen Project LIT selections (with eBook and audiobook links to OverDrive & Hoopla) can be found in the Reading Lists section of the Library’s website.
- Personal Blog/Website
- Project LIT Overview Video – “What If?”
- Project LIT Community on Social Media: Facebook and Twitter
- ‘Project LIT” takes aim at Nashville’s book deserts.
- Literacy empowers young people as readers and leaders, so that they’re prepared…and inspired to change the world.