Read in Color® is a new initiative bringing diverse books to Little Free Library book-sharing boxes around the world. Read in Color distributes books that provide perspectives on racism and social justice; celebrate BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized voices; and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers.
Less than 25% of children’s books depict non-white characters. We believe everyone should be able to see themselves in the pages of a book. We also know that books can be a window into experiences that are different from our own. By reading diverse books, we can increase understanding, empathy, and inclusion.
Read in Color’s Roots
The Little Free Library nonprofit is headquartered just across the river from the Greater Twin Cities, a community many of our staff members call home. When George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, we worked with our community to develop Read in Color to help create meaningful change. More than 7,000 diverse books and 25 Little Free Libraries have been distributed in the Twin Cities to date.
In 2021, Read in Color expanded nationwide! The program launched in nine additional cities, including Tulsa, Oklahoma; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Ferguson, Missouri; Atlanta; Phoenix; and New York City. In total, more than 100 Little Free Libraries have been established in high-impact areas and 30,000 diverse books have been shared.
About Read in Color
Read in Color aims to amplify diverse voices at a grassroots, community level. The program has four key components:
- Read in Color pledge. Everyone can sign a pledge indicating their commitment to read and share diverse books. Participants have the option to showcase their commitment on our Pledge Wall and have access to special Read in Color resources.
- Little Free Library installations. We are establishing new Little Free Library book-sharing boxes filled with culturally relevant books in high-need communities on a city-by-city basis, working in tandem with local partners. We have installed libraries in 10 cities nationwide with more to come. Do you know an organization that should be a Read in Color partner? Encourage them to submit a Read in Color Community Partner Request.
- Free diverse books. When Read in Color launches in a city, Little Free Library stewards in the area can apply to receive shipments of diverse books at no cost, purchased from BIPOC-owned independent bookstores whenever possible. Sign-up to receive our newsletter to stay informed about eligibility for this offer.
- Recommended reading lists. Our Diverse Books Advisory Group provides a list of multicultural books for children, adolescents, and adults representing Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Muslim, LGBTQ+, and other communities.
You can Read in Color and help bring diverse books to every neighborhood! Here’s how to get involved:
- Sign the pledge. Take the Read in Color pledge and receive access to bookmarks, stickers, and social media badges. Little Free Library stewards can also access a Read in Color sign for your library door!
- Share diverse books. If you’re a steward, share diverse books in your own Little Free Library book-sharing box. If you don’t have a Little Free Library of your own, share diverse books in a little library in your neighborhood. (Find a nearby location using our map.)
- Spread the word. Post about your participation in Read in Color on social media. We’d love to see photos of you sharing books in Little Free Libraries! Use #ReadinColor and tag us @LittleFreeLibrary (Facebook and Instagram) or @LtlFreeLibrary (Twitter).
- Donate. Help us bring diverse books to communities nationwide by donating to Little Free Library.
See Where Read in Color Has Launched Nationwide
Click on any pin below to learn more about the Read in Color program launch in that city.