Celebrating diversity, enhancing literacy through new “Books Like Me” initiative

March 5, 2020 – There was a time when none of the books she was reading had characters or storylines she could relate to, Dr. Diana Greene recalls.

Now, as Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, Dr. Greene says she wants to make sure students in her school district don’t have that problem.

The superintendent recently introduced the “Books Like Me – To Enhance My Literacy” initiative. Through this initiative, a diverse selection of more than 40,250 multicultural books are being distributed among every elementary school in the district.

With more than 75 different books per grade level, the initiative will celebrate the many different cultures represented by the children and families of Team Duval. Titles include: “The Korean Cinderella;” “Under the Ramadan Moon;” “Abuela;” “The Great Aztecs;” “Water Buffalo Days – Growing Up in Vietnam;” “Nino Wrestles the World;” “Old Mikamba had a Farm;” “Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree;” “My Name is Maria Isabel” “Dia’s Story Cloth – The Hmong People’s Journey of Freedom;” and much more.

“Our goal is for all students to find books where they see themselves.” said Dr. Greene. “When you see yourself, you’re more inclined to make a connection. Reading is all about making connections. These connections increase student’s enjoyment of reading, which increases their frequency in reading which ultimately increases their literacy.”

Along with enhanced reading proficiency, Dr. Greene says she hopes this initiative unites Duval in honoring its diversity. And she’s calling on the community to help.

Community members interested in reading a book in celebration of the “Books Like Me” initiative can click here or visit the district’s Department of Family and Community Engagement  webpage. For questions or more information, contact Tia Leathers, Executive Director of Family and Community Engagement at LeathersT@duvalschools.org or 904.390.2960.