The Madison Reading Project is offering teachers 25 brand-new, diverse books for their classrooms

How you can give or get books, today!
Rowan Childs and two Madison Reading Project staff members stand around a table packing up books to donate in the new space on Madison's south side.
Photo by Maggie Ginsberg.

MADISON, Wis. — Maybe you saw yourself in Ramona, the energetic 8-year-old brought to life by Beverly Cleary. Or Hermione. from the ‘Harry Potter’ series. What’s important is that you saw yourself somewhere, felt connected to a character, and were compelled to keep reading. One local group is trying to make that happen for more children this school year, but it needs your help.

The Madison Reading Project is offering all Dane County teachers, from pre-K through 12th grade, 25 brand-new books for their classroom libraries as part of its ‘Books for Educators’ program. Many are new releases, and tackle current topics with a diverse array of characters.

Deirdre Steinmetz, the Project’s Program and Operations Director, explains why literary diversity is very important for kids: According to the latest Census data, 50% of all kids are non-white, yet only 30% of books published in the last year for children and teens featured black, indigenous, and people of color.

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“When you see yourself in a story, you can relate to that story,” Steinmetz said. “Seeing yourself in the materials you’re reading, finding topics you’re interested in, it sparks more of a joy of reading.”

‘Books for Educators’ will also support teachers who, on average, spend $750 out-of-pocket on supplies each school year.

How you can help:

The Madison Reading Project says every donation makes a difference. More than 100 teachers have signed up so far: which means 2,500 books are already needed.

Click here to purchase a book or two from the Madison Reading Project’s wish lists.

Click here to donate to the ‘Books for Educators’ fund.

READ MORE: Having books in the home is the single biggest indicator of academic success, according to the Madison Reading Project