WHO WE ARE
The Coalition of Authors and Publishers for Equity is dedicated to change the lives of children living in book deserts by:
Raising awareness about the prevalence of book deserts
Being the voice for all children - regardless of their zip codes - who deserve access to books and reading culture
Making a personal commitment to help address children's book access and equity through donating my time and / or resources.
HOW WE STARTED
In the End Book Deserts podcast featuring Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, invited fellow authors to actively address book access:
I've known all these teachers so many thousands of teachers over the country who have been...spending their pocket money... And so, a few times a year I just buy class sets for like- you know tons and tons of people ultimately equals about 100 schools a year. And just get class sets which comes to about- gosh I guess- 3,000 books a year that I just sort of buy it by myself because I'm in a situation where I mean these books and these students and these teachers have afforded me the opportunity when it's a little like that at least I can do is give something back so that they don’t have to continue to gouge their own paychecks to do a job that all of us are responsible for so that's one thing. I think all of us have a bit of a debt to pay.
We were so moved by Jason's example, and think others would be as well, that we created the Coalition and issued the End Book Deserts Challenge to get other authors, publishers, and people who care about books to follow his lead and donate what they can, be it books, time, or other resources. Ultimately we want all members of the children's, middle grade, and young adult book publishing communities to be aware of book deserts and to take an active role in improving book access. We believe that through collaborative efforts from authors, illustrators, printers, and publishers, book deserts can be eradicated.
Best-selling author, Nic Stone, agrees:
My challenge to my fellow authors is to pay more attention, open your eyes, look around you and you know, don't just seek to get your books in the hands of the kids who can buy them. There are also going to be kids who maybe can't buy them but still need to read them.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO GET INVOLVED?
We welcome involvement from the entire community - authors, illustrators, printers, and publishers - from novice authors to those well-established. Each individual determines his/her level of commitment.
As mentioned, sign the pledge: Click here to access the Change.org petition. Next, challenge a colleague to do the same.
Share your involvement on social media: Use the hashtag #endbookdeserts and tag @endbookdeserts.
Determine your level of involvement. Perhaps you follow Jason Reynold’s lead and donate your books to teachers and classrooms. Perhaps you donate your time at a local book bank. You might go onto Donors Choose or Amazon and fill a teacher’s wishlist. Or maybe you offer pro-bono Skype sessions to schools that might not have funding for author visits.
Promote your participation with a video. Turn the camera on yourself as you book talk your favorite childhood book. What might your childhood have been like without that one book that you just adored? No need for fancy videotaping - keep it short and simple.
Share your ideas / involvement by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org