Hey! I’m in this book!

  • Location
    Southeastern, Michigan
  • Status
  • Age Level
    Any Age

The Problem

Joining Roots&Shoots gave me tools to develop a new project. I wanted to focus on a project that was directly impacting me and my community, I looked at different things happening around me and problems that were facing different communities in my area and decided I wanted to take action. As someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, I have first hand experience of what it feels like to see a lack of representation in books and other media. With mental health being drastically worse for members of the queer community, being able to read a book where they feel represented or their family is being represented is really important because they can relate to the characters and feel less alone. Seeing characters like yourself represented in books is one step closer to seeing yourself valued and equal in society. I live right outside of an incredibly diverse town that puts major focus on diversity. However in surrounding communities, there have been issues of homophobia and are overall much less tolerant of anyone outside of what they deem normal. Diversity is either ignored and pushed under the rug or barely talked about. A major part of intolerance is caused by a lack of understanding or education, if someone has never interacted with someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, then they will not understand or see the human side of that person. Overall, my goal is to decrease the stigma around lgbtq+ humans, teach young people how to respect each other, and create safe spaces for lgbtq+ people and families to show everyone that you deserve and are part of this world and there is space for you to be yourself and live your life.

Our Plan

The first would be to develop a couple of reading program sessions to host that would also be available to teachers/libraries/parents or anybody else that would like to use them for free. In the fall of 2019 I hosted a small reading program where I read a couple of books about families. We talked about how different families look different in many different ways. Then we did this little popsicle stick house craft where people were able to think about what their family looks like. Even though we only had one family come, it was really interesting to see how many people were interested and it gave me a good run through and feel of what hosting a program like this can look like. With covid and many life happenings, I haven’t been able to get back to doing these. Going forward, this is what I will focus a lot of my time on and I would like to switch these to virtual to be able to connect to a larger audience. The second thing I would like to do with Hey! I\'m in this book! is connect to the authors and illustrators themselves. My goal is to start a podcast to interview them on a variety of topics about their books, like why they decided to write it, what their inspirations are, the process they went through, and the impact that they’ve noticed. Lastly, I want to increase the availability of these books in schools and libraries. I hope to have a teacher/librarian wish list where people can put in books they’d like for their classroom and raise money or collect donations to be able to fill them!

Themes Addressed

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The Benefit

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