A Bit About Us

“[E]veryone deserves the chance to fall into a great book and get lost in the story entirely. And black youth deserve to see their lives and their voices validated not only in literature, but in the world.”

Naadeyah Haseeb, “here’s why black youth representation in media matters”)  

Who We Are

Young, Black & Lit was started by book lovers who understand the critical importance of reading and representation in the lives of children.  Our mission is simple, to increase access to children's books that center, reflect, and affirm the experiences of Black children. 

What We Do

Young, Black & Lit sources and distributes new children's books featuring Black main characters to youth at no cost to the youth or their families. We primarily distribute books through two Lit Programs: 

LIT YEAR

Young, Black & Lit partners with elementary schools/school districts in Cook County, IL to provide one children’s book per month to every student in the school/school district’s Kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms for the school year.

LIT MONTHLY

Young, Black & Lit donates 50 children's books to at least three daycare providers serving low-income children and/or Title I schools in Cook County, IL each month.

Why We Do It

Study after study has shown that increased access to books in the home has a significant impact on children’s reading achievement. (See http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/face/pdf/research-compendium/access-to-books.pdf)

Studies have also shown the critical importance of representation in children’s literature. Many education scholars agree that when books serve as mirrors, allowing children to see themselves, their families, and their communities reflected, children feel valued. When those same books serve as windows, allowing children to see the similarities and differences they have with other cultures, children feel connected.

(See “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors” https://scenicregional.org/wp-

content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf). 

 

In a world that too often undervalues the beauty and brilliance of Black children, Young, Black & Lit aims to change the narrative. We are an organization that is rooted in love: love of children, love of reading, and love of Black culture. Young, Black & Lit makes it easier for children to access quality books featuring Black characters by removing the cost and doing the research to find books that affirm the varied experiences of Black children; building at-home libraries, self-esteem, and life-long readers, one book at a time. 

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