2021 Birthday Book Drive

This blog post is a few weeks/months late, but now seems like a good time to post it. For the past three years Carrie (a frequent guest blogger and MadLibs writer) and I celebrate our February birthdays by hosting a birthday book drive. It started as many ideas do as a whim. I thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday by collecting new books by authors of color and giving them to schools in my neighborhood. I put up a Facebook post about it and people were excited to share in the experience. Carrie joined in since she also has a February birthday and we expanded the book drive to include books about disabilities.

This year we contemplated not doing the book drive since it fell during the long middle of COVID. February was a harsh time since we were hitting the one year mark of COVID life, it was cold and wet in Seattle, and the novelty of sourdough had worn off. I checked in with a teacher friend to ask if she had a need for new books, especially since she was teaching remotely. She text back saying YES! As school had abruptly shut down the prior March she had emptied out her classroom library and sent those books home with kids. She wasn’t counting on getting many of the books back and would have to rebuild her classroom library – a huge expense for a school with 50% of the students qualifying for free and reduced lunch (proxy for low income). We heard a similar story from a school librarian who said a lot of the books weren’t returned from the previous school year and she was hoping to rebuild their collection with new books.

I’m glad we decided to host the book drive again. Many of our friends enthusiastically chose books from our wish list or from the Fakequity Bookshop, and others told us about titles to add. The books we collected were by authors of color, by authors with disabilities, or about disabilities. We purposefully selected these focuses because we want to highlight these books for students. We want to make it a little easier for them to find the right book to expose them to new ideas or reflect back their own experiences. Author Grace Lin, posted about how books are important, but they are just a tool – an important tool, but it still takes work to create change.

When we shared the books through socially distance drop off or a few porch pickups, people were excited. A high school librarian said he planned to feature the books during his weekly library book pick-up and return day. A teacher friend sent a note saying she loved the new picture books and they would provide excitement, inspiration, and art to her lessons. Thank you to our friends and family Amber, Brooke, Carmen, Chandra, Christena, Dasha, Debra, Emi, Friend, Hannah, Heather, Heidi & Jill, Ivan, Jean, Jessica, Kristina, Lauren, Leslie, Lisa, Liz, Mia, Rebekah, Renee, Ruby & Shalimar, Sarah, Stacy, Tina, Tracy, and others I may have accidently missed. If you ordered books from the Fakequity Bookshop link, I reinvested those proceeds into ordering over a dozen books for this book drive – thank you.

The Book List

Every year someone ask what books we collected and shared with schools, so here is the list of books. The books went to three elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools in Southeast Seattle. I listed the race of the author, this is a best guest – please know there may be errors in here. I also marked if the book is about disabilities or by a disabled author, again I used a best guess here.

I hope you’ll read some of these books. I also hope you’ll share them with others, especially kids who may be in your life.

Lead from the OutsideAbrams, StaceyBlack
The Poet XAcevedo, ElizabethBlack
The Essential Gwendolyn BooksAlexander, ElizabethBlack
One Person No VoteAnderson, CarolBlack
We Are Not Yet EqualAnderson, CarolBlack
Leaving YeslerBaco, PeterAsian
A friend for HenryBailey, JennX
James Baldwin The Fire Next TimeBaldwin, JamesBlack
ElDeafo Superpower EditionBell, CecewhiteX – Deaf
The Vanishing HalfBennett, BritBlack
Dear Black BoyBennett, MartellusBlack
All the Weight of Our DreamsBrown, Et alAsian/Black/Latinx/Middle East/Native/Pacific IslanderX
The Pretty OneBrown, KeahBlack
A Splash of RedBryant, JenX
Six DotsBryant, JenX – blindness
The Best We Could DoBui, ThiAsian
Mindful MovesCardoza, NicoleBlack
Ordinary OhanaCataluna, LeePacific Islander
Nico Bravo and the Cellar DwellersCavallaro, Mike
The School of Good and EvilChainiani, Soman
Finish the FightChambers, VeronicaBlack
PashminaChanani, NidhiMiddle East
How to Write an Autobiographical NovelChee, AlexanderAsian
We Are Not FreeChee, TraciAsian
My Unforgotten SeattleChew, RonAsian
Role Models Who Look Like MeCho, Jasmine M.Asian
Efren DividedCisneros, ErnestoLatinx
The House on Mango StreetCisneros, SandraLatinx
Between the World and MeCoates, Ta-NehisiBlack
Eloquent RageCooper, BritneyBlack
I am not a LabelCurnell, CerrieX
Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair CultureDabiri, EmmaBlack
Invisible DifferencesDachez, JulieX – Asperger Syndrome
Helen Keller’s TeacherDavidson, MargartWhiteX – Deaf
PatsyDennis-Benn, Nicolewhite
Lifting as we ClimbDionne, EvetteBlack
PetEmezi, AkwaekeBlack
The Birchbark HouseErdrich, LouiseNative/Indigenous
Yasmin The SuperheroFaruqi, SaadiaAsian
Where we Once BelongedFigiel, SiaPacific Islander
Jasmine Toguchi Mochi QueenFlorence, Debbi MichikoAsian
Ho’onani Hula WarriorGale, HeatherPacific Islander topic, author’s race unknown
Make Me Rain poems & proseGiovanni, NikkiBlack
Kamala Harris Rooted in JusticeGrimes, NikkiBlack / Asian
Real FriendsHale, ShannonWhiteX – anxiety
Superheroes Are EverywhereHarris, KamalaBlack / Asian
Kamala & Maya’s Big IdeaHarris, MeenaBlack
Ambitious GirlHarris, Meena & Marissa ValdezBlack
Not My Idea: A Book About WhitenessHigginbotham, AnastasiaWhite
Eyes that Kiss in the CornersHo, JoannaAsian
Minor FeelingsHong, Cathy ParkAsian
The Oldest StudentHubbard, Rita Lorraine and Oge MoraBlack
DisplacementHughes, KikuAsian
Their eyes were watching godHurston, Zora NealeBlack
Every Body LookingIloh, CandiceBlack
The Parker InheritanceJhonson, VarianBlack
Home for Chinese New Year: A Story Told in English and ChineseJie, WeiAsian
The Shark KingJohnson, R. KikuoBlack
TwinsJohnson, Varian and Shannon WrightBlack
Under My HijabKhan, HenaMiddle East
This is Our ConstitutionKhan, KhizrAsian
Stad Up Yumi ChungKim, JessicaAsian
Bug BoysKnetzger, Laurawhite
Interpreters of MaladiesLahiri, JhumpaAsian
Measuring UpLaMotte, LilyAsian
K-Pop ConfidentialLee, StephenAsian
Across that BridgeLewis, JohnBlack
SnapdragonLeyh, Kat
Show Me a SignLeZotte, Ann ClareX – Deaf
Invisible EmmieLibenson, TerriWhiteX
Just JaimeLibenson, TerriWhiteX
Positively IzzyLibenson, TerriWhiteX
Mulan: Before the SwordLin, GraceAsian
We Are Water ProtectorsLindstrom, CaroleNative/Indigenous
The Paper MenagerieLiu, KenAsian
Journey of the Freckled Indian: A Tlingit Culture StoryLondon, Alyssa Yáx Ádi YádiNative/Indigenous
Hannah’s Down Syndrome SuperpowersLyarbough, Lori LeighwhiteX
What is Given from the HeartMcKissack, PatriciaBlack
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving AwayMedina, MegLatinx
Tia Isa Wants a CarMedina, MegLatinx
SanctuaryMendoza, PaolaLatinx
When Stars are ScatteredMohamed, OmarBlackX
SaturdayMora, OgeBlack
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982Nam-Joo, ChoAsian
It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)Noah, TrevorBlack
IkengaOkorafor, NnediBlack
The Remembering BalloonsOliveros, JessieX
Anger is a GiftOshiro, MarkAsianX
Love and RageOwners, Lama RodBlackX
A Long Walk to WaterPark, Linda SueAsian
A Single ShardPark, Linda SueAsianX
Ghost BoyParker Rhodes, JewellBlack
Strange BirdsPerez, Celia C.Latinx
Outside, InsidePham, LeUyenAsianX — COVID related
Vietnamese Children’s StoriesPhuoc, Tran Thi MinhAsian
Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEOPizzoliBlack
Gabi: A Girl in PiecesQuintero, IsabelLatinx
One LifeRapinoe, Megan
For Every OneReynolds, JasonBlack
Long Way DownReynolds, JasonBlack
StampedReynolds, JasonBlack
Jake Makes a WorldRhodes-Pitt, SharifaBlackX
Filipino CelebrationsRomulo, LianaAsian
Silent Days Silent DreamsSay, AllenAsianX
Festival of ColorsSehgal, KabirAsian
How to Solve a ProblemShiraishi, AshimaAsian
Just AskSotomayor, SoniaLatinxX
Solo Pregunta (Just Ask — Spanish)Sotomayor, SoniaLatinxX
The Autism-Friendly Guide to PeriodsSteward, RobynWhiteX
Nos Ll amaron Enemigo (They Called Us Enemy — Spanish)Takei, GeorgeAsian
They Called Us Enemy — Extended EditionTakei, GeorgeAsian
Opposite of FateTan, AmyAsian
GutsTelgerman, RainnawhiteX
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the SeaThom, Kai ChengAsianX
Braiding SweetgrassWall-Kimmerer, RobinNative/Indigenous
Magic Ramen The Story of Momofuku AndoWang, AndreaAsian
StargazingWang, JenAsianX
Navigate Your StarsWard, JesmynBlack
Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First CenturyWong, AliceAsianX
SolitaryWoodfox, Albert
This is the RopeWoodson, JacquelineBlack
Superman Smashes the KlanYang, Gene LuenAsian
The Most Beautiful ThingsYang, Kao KaliaAsianX – aging
Malala Mi HistoriaYousafzai, MalalaMiddle East

Link to a Google Spreadsheet in case the list isn’t screen reader friendly.

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