Happy National Black Literacy Day!

Happy National Black Literacy Day!

Semicolon in Chicago, a bookstore and gallery space owned and operated by a Black woman, actively involved in literacy programs for the community, organized to get February 14th certified as National Black Literacy Day! ❤

In an article on LitHub, the bookstore owner DL Mullen describes her motivation for creating this day: “The idea for NBLD came about as our focus began to center more on literacy rates. The racial inequity that educational gaps create can begin to be solved by observing a community’s connection to reading, and we wanted a big way to combat that.”

The post for the day on National Day Archives suggests these ways to celebrate: “This day should be celebrated by reading, buying books from a Black bookstore, and donating books/resources to literacy-focused organizations.” This sounds like a great idea to me!

Here are some possibilities:

Looking to support a Black owned bookstore?
* A list from LitHub of Black owned bookstores from which you can order online
* A list from Riveted of Black owned bookstores to follow on social media and by from – this one has gorgeous photos from the Instagram feeds of many of these bookstores.
* You can order from Semicolon (and/or others) via Bookshop.
* Check out A Kid’s Book About – a Portland based company founded by a Black father, which publishes kids’ books on “challenging, empowering, and important topics that kids experience every day.”

Looking to hear more Black voices about books? Check out YouTube for the Black Booktube channels. I have really been enjoying the channels I’ve run across, including Bookish Realm, Chanelle, and Books by Leynes. I need more time to watch them all – and read more books!

Looking to support organizations working to build literacy?
* Semicolon Bookstore is running a GoFundMe to provide books to students in Chicago. They also recommend Chicago Literary Alliance
* In Portland, the Children’s Book Bank, fills homes and lives with engaging, culturally diverse books because all children deserve to have books of their own.
* In Portland, KairosPDX, is a non-profit organization focused on delivering excellent, equitable education to underserved children, their families and their communities. 
* Check out Little Black Book Nook, a collective of resources including diverse book reviews, lesson plans, crafts, and professional development.

So Happy National Black Literacy Day! I’m going to celebrate by donating to the #ClearTheShelves to buy books for students in Chicago, and buying these two books for my own shelves from Fulton Street Books and Coffee in Tulsa, Oklahoma:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward

As DL Mullen, from Semicolon reminds us, “Reading is a revolutionary act!”

What suggestions do you have to add to these lists for ways to celebrate?

Happy National Black Literacy Day!!


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