With the help of partner nonprofits—Decatur Makers and House of SpeakEasy—students attending the IRC in Atlanta’s “Ready, Set, College!” summer camp were able to build a “Little Free Library” for the Clarkston High School New Roots Garden. On June 20—World Refugee Day—our summer campers enjoyed a field trip to Decatur Makers, a local maker’s space which facilitates hands-on STEM exploration. Here the students learned basic woodworking skills and worked together to build a Little Free Library to install in their school after the summer. Later, the students used their creative skills to decorate the library according to the theme “Grow Your Mind” with the word “read” translated into their various native languages painted across the top.
After participating in a daily book club as part of summer camp, students expressed an increased interest in reading and a desire for more books, especially Young Adult Fiction novels about characters who have been through similar immigration experiences. After the group finished I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez, rising 10th grader Rachel shared, “This book is so good. Wow, now I cannot stop reading.” Her classmate Sarah added, “It convinced me to read more. This book is so relatable because I grew up in a completely different world from my parents. It taught me to understand my parents and myself more.” Finally, rising 9th grader Khee Lar stated, “I am so proud of myself for reading this whole book! I can’t believe it. One year ago, I did not speak English, but now I know reading is the best way to improve my vocabulary and my conversation.”
Consequently, the students were very excited to receive a donation of brand-new books tailored to their interests and cultural backgrounds from the literary non-profit House of SpeakEasy, as part of their summer bookmobile tour. These books were the first to fill the students’ Little Free Library, which they hope will continue to increase their access to books. A few students have already finished the book they picked out and returned it to the library to share with their peers!
If you would like to donate new or gently used books (particularly YA fiction from diverse voices!) or host a donation drive to help stock our new Little Free Library, please contact IRC Student Support Specialist, Caitlin Fogerty at Caitlin.Fogerty [at] Rescue.org.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.