Diversity Rocks the Book
Diversity Rocks the Book is a City of Holland community project with the goal of empowering all kids to see themselves and value others through books and educating parents and teachers on the importance of bringing diverse books into the home and classroom environment.
Diversity Rocks the Book (DRB) was launched in March, 2018 by the City of Holland’s Human Relations Commission. The DRB Project Team included representatives from Herrick District Library, Holland Public Schools, West Ottawa Public Schools, Black River Public School, Vanderbilt Charter Academy, Ready for School, Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, the Holland Museum, the Ottawa Area ISD, GVSU, Hope College, and the City of Holland.
The program was inspired by recent national efforts to support diversity in books led by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita of Education at Ohio State University and grass-roots efforts such as We Need Diverse Books. Both argue that when children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in society.
Diversity Rocks the Book established three main program components: children’s books with diverse main characters donated to city schools and preschools, community volunteers serving as guest readers in the classroom, and resources for parents and teachers. In its first two years, the program distributed 618 books to public and charter schools within the City of Holland and 45 guest readers have visited 60 classrooms and reached more than 1,500 students.
Communities and organizations that are interested in implementing their own DRB programs can download the Diversity Rocks the Book Community Blueprint here.
The DRB planning team completed their book selections for 2020, but accompanying program plans have been waylaid by the pandemic. We encourage you to visit the project website www.diversityrocksthebookholland.com and take advantage of the resources there. These books are recent publications and are available at your local library or via your local bookstore. They make great gifts.