Books for Change, an annual book campaign by University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, has returned with a new theme and a new partnership.
This year the theme is “Justice from the Beginning” with books selected for children of all ages to learn about social justice. the List contains 25 books selected by a team of experts from the Office’s Literacy and Learning Department. Topics covered in the books include environmental justice, land rights, and black history.
Books for Change, now in its fourth year, has previously asked for donations related to other topics, including anti-racism.
The office is now asking citizens to help purchase the books that will be delivered to schools and childcare facilities in the area, mainly in the Hill District.
Some of the titles included are We are water conservationists by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade, sing a song by Kelly Starling Lyons and Keith Mallett and Milo imagines the world by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson.
To get its message of social justice across, the office partnered with City of Asylum, a North Side bookstore organization that specializes in titles and programs that focus on marginalized or persecuted voices. In addition to a wide range of genres for adult and young readers, the City of Asylum bookstore also sells children’s books.
If you want to donate to Books for Change this year, you can send a title directly to the. to buy City of Asylum Bookstore Book Drive page or from the Books for changing the Amazon wish list. Donations of money are also made through the Office of Child Development Book Drive Fund.
Books for Change began in 2018 in response to the Tree of Life mass shootings when 11 believers were shot dead in a Squirrel Hill synagogue, according to a press release. It was later revealed that the gunman, Robert Bowers, yelled anti-Semitic sentiments after he was arrested by police. Later reports indicated that the Baldwin, Pennsylvania man had also threatened Jewish groups on the website Gab.com.
“After the 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue tragedy, our entire Pittsburgh community was moved to action,” the press release said. “At the Office of Child Development, we wanted to help the community get well, so we turned to something we know particularly well: picture books.”
The office claims the annual Books for Change book campaign has collected and donated nearly 5,000 books since its inception.
This year’s promotion will collect books for the remainder of December through January and deliver the books in March 2022.