During March is Reading Month, we love to think about how writers learn to tell and share their own stories by reading the stories of others. That’s why 826michigan and Black Men Read partnered together this year to create reading and writing materials to share free-of-charge with families in our communities! Curiosity, imagination, and celebration of young people’s unique experiences are at the heart of our collaborative work, which was made possible through the support of Google Ann Arbor and Detroit. Through this partnership, we sought to honor the interests and voices of young students and support their growth as readers and writers.
Each Read & Write Now Activity Kit contains two books, Where Is It Coming From written by 826michigan youth writers, and The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds. Kits also contain a large notebook (donated from Moleskine) for collecting words and stories, pencils, a sticker, and a detailed activity booklet that you can check out below. All materials were developed in collaboration by the staff and interns at 826michigan and Black Men Read, thoughtfully designed for students and families who are looking for some inspiring, hands-on reading and writing activities.
For more information about our partners at Black Men Read, visit bmrkids.org or follow on Facebook @bmrkids to learn more about their wonderful ongoing programs, book boxes, and readings!
We were able to build 250 of these kits so far with the help of volunteers from Google and 826michigan! The kits are currently being shared with families through the Ypsilanti District Library and Brilliant Detroit.
At 826michigan, we value how writing allows us to figure things out, to connect with others, to help us learn about ourselves and who we will become, and to use our power to build a better world. Everyone, especially young people as they grow and develop as thinkers and creators, needs access to the power that writing offers. To gain this access, writers need to read many kinds of writing—stories, poems, news articles, websites, lists, text messages, letters, instructions, maps—to find inspiration and to see examples of how writers make change with their words!
Black Men Read our mission is to uplift Black men, all children and all communities. We recognize the power of storytelling to serve as a window into new worlds and perspectives, and to broaden our imaginations. We also believe that storytelling can be a mirror, one that affirms us, and gives us an opportunity to feel seen and valued. This is why we choose stories featuring Black children, from all over the African diaspora, in a variety of colors, ethnicities, religions, family structures and gender identities. We want all children, and especially Black children, to know that they matter, and they belong.
A big thank-you to Jessica Pace, who designed and illustrated the activity booklet, and to the volunteers from Google and 826michigan who assembled the kits!.