Books as Mirrors launched this year at six Spartanburg County public elementary schools: Cleveland Academy of Leadership, Dratyon Mills, Duncan, Roebuck, Jesse S. Bobo, and Woodland Heights.
The project began with Hub City Writers Project’s desire to continue growing great readers. For a number of years, the organization has donated books to Spartanburg School District 7’s summer reading program but began exploring options on how to expand its reach to include all seven districts in Spartanburg County.
Through the grant, Books as Mirrors was born. Camille Wolfe, chairman for Women Giving of Spartanburg, says the project stood out to the organization due to the diversity and inclusion aspects. “For us, it’s all about diversity and inclusion,” Waters said. “We want to work toward growing readers. We want to optimize the opportunity to grow readers by providing them with books as mirrors to ensure that they see themselves in the books.”
Hub City Writers Project Outreach Assistant, Kyla Burwick, met with media specialists from the schools chosen to better understand the demographic of the school and to find out what types of books they were missing from their libraries. Educators say students are more likely to pick up a book they are more connected to and lots of times this connection comes from children recognizing themselves or their experiences within the books. “Our hope is that a reluctant reader will see themselves in the book and make them want to pick up another book and another book,” Burwick said. “We want them to say ‘wow, that means something to me.”