One Girl Scout is on a mission to sort books in local school libraries, and has collected nearly 300 titles so far.
Melia Frazier, 11, said her school had Harry Potter books and the American Girls series, but none of the books featured people who looked like her. Melia is Black.
Her mother, Nikki Thompson-Frazier, gives Melia books at home, but that’s not the case at school.
Frazier’s Black Girl Drive Book was designed to address that problem. The idea for the book collection came from teenage activist Marley Dias, who started the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign in 2015.
Melia is collecting books until August 14.
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The project will help Melia win the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is given to those who complete sustainable community projects.
“It goes from little kids to big kids,” Melia said. “There are picture books and chapter books.”
One of the books in her collection is “Good Trouble” by Lisa Moore Ramée. Melia says it’s one of her favorite books to read.
Nyshell Lawrence, owner of the Socialight Society, has made a post on her bookstore website (www.socialightsociety.com/melia) for a monetary and book donation for the Melia project. Lawrence sells books to the Frazier project at a discount.
“We have a curated list of books that feature black girls and they can pick a book from there,” Lawrence said. “We have a storage box where people put books. They can make a monetary donation to Melia to sell books to add to the collection.”
Customers can buy books at her store in the Lansing Mall and drop them in a convenient box. Another drop box is located at Lotus Beauty Lounge in Meridian Mall.
The books range from teenagers to preschool.
“When it comes to Black girls being the main character, here in Lansing we have a bookstore owned by a Black woman, so why not partner with them to showcase her bookstore, as well as the need for more literature.” African Americans so that the children know about it, so that the parents know about it, when we start to share the other story that is there,” Terry Frazier, Melia’s father, said.
All titles collected from the Lawrence store will be collected at Sweet Encounter in Fraziers for distribution where the books will go to Greater Lansing schools and the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing.
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Terry Frazier said he hopes school districts will review the curriculum to determine whether students of color are adequately represented in literature and whether other subjects, such as math, are taught equally.
Terry Frazier said he was surprised by Melia’s collection of books because he didn’t see this type of literature growing up. Students will be inspired by the authors of those books and their biographies, he added, to know that they can achieve anything.
“It’s really giving young kids a chance to read, see themselves and really build the confidence of ‘I’m a person,'” “I can see this,” he said.
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Contact reporter Krystal Nurse at (517) 267-1344 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @KrystalRNurse.