When your Action Book Club gathers to talk about the book you’ve chosen, use these questions—or your own—to get the conversation flowing.
- What is your cultural background? Is your family native to your country? Were they immigrants? What cultural family traditions do you remember or still practice?
- Do you regularly interact with people who have different cultural, economic, or religious backgrounds? If so, what are some of the valuable outcomes of these relationships? If not, what do you feel has prevented you from making those connections?
- Talk about the main character in the book you read. How did their cultural, economic, or religious background shape them? How did it affect how others perceived them? How did it impact the story?
- Do you live in a diverse community? Do you feel your neighborhood, town, city, or state is welcoming to residents with a range of ethnicities, ages, incomes, and abilities? If not, what could you do to help improve this?
- What are the signs of a strong, connected community? Why are strong communities important? What happens when community members feel isolated, unwelcome, or unheard?
Is your Action Book Club group ready to choose a project to benefit your community? Be inspired by one of the activities from the list below or dream up another fitting project to make your neighborhood a better place.
Our list includes actions that directly relate to the theme “Many Voices,” as well as actions that more generally spread kindness and build community. Tip: Don’t be afraid to start small!
- Donate diverse books that feature children of color to schools, public libraries, or Little Free Libraries in your area.
- Host a potluck and ask everyone to bring a dish that represents their cultural heritage, as well as a nonperishable item to donate to a local food bank.
- Volunteer as an English (ESL) tutor and help students learn basic speaking, reading, and writing skills.
- Visit a local immigrant-owned restaurant to learn more about a different culture, and get to know the owners. Consider volunteering at an immigrant services organization in your community.
- Visit a religious service that is different from your own. (Check the religious community’s website first to find out when they welcome visitors.)
- Paint a “kindness rock” and leave it for someone in your neighborhood to find.
- Write thank-you notes to neighbors and businesses in your community who are making a positive impact on where you live.
- Organize a community clean-up day, when your group can pick up trash, remove graffiti, and beautify your neighborhood.
- Donate food, money, or volunteer hours to a local food bank.
- Plant a community garden. At harvest time, invite everyone in the neighborhood to a garden party where they can meet new people, get to know each other, and take home free produce.
- Volunteer to do yard work, house painting, snow shoveling, and other chores for elderly members of your community. While you’re there, chat with these senior neighbors and find out more about them.
- Introduce yourself to three neighbors that you’ve never talked to before.
- Organize a clothing swap for kids in your area to trade their outgrown clothes.
- Collect new socks and donate them to a homeless shelter.
- Make or buy small gifts for children in local hospitals or family shelters. Or, sign up to help Project Linus, which has delivered more than six million handmade blankets to kids and families in need.
- Volunteer at local schools. Organize a book drive to fill school libraries with new books or a school-supply drive to fill classrooms with new materials.
- Visit the Habitat for Humanity website to find out if there is a chapter in your area. Your group may be able to help build a new house for a family going through a difficult time.
- Explore social justice training opportunities in your area.
- Make “care packages” for people who are homeless and deliver them around your area. The packages could include items like bottled water, granola bars, and kind notes.
- Set up a free lemonade stand. Instead of charging money, ask people to tell you something interesting about themselves, something they love about your neighborhood, or something that needs to be improved.
- Organize a Meal Train for a new parent or someone struggling with illness.
- Attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your area by planting native flowers or by making “seed bombs” with beneficial blooms.
- Build a Little Free Library book exchange to place in a community park or schoolyard (with permission).
- Do you have a Little Free Library yourself? Host an event at your Library, like a book swap, story time for kids, poetry reading, or community get together.
Do you need additional Action Book Club stickers for your group? Print as many official, 2-inch-round stickers as you need using this sticker template. They can be made into buttons, too!
Do you want to learn more about diversity, community, and giving back? Check out these online resources.
Top image courtesy of Creative Commons.