2021 Book Drive


We believe there are age-appropriate ways for all children to learn about social justice. Let's start them early by donating picture books!

After the 2018 tragedy at Tree of Life Synagogue, our entire Pittsburgh community was moved to action. At the Office of Child Development, we wanted to help the community heal, so we turned to one thing we know particularly well: picture books. Books for Change was born, and it has continued to grow since then. Driven by a message of promoting social justice and equity for all children, our annual Books for Change book drive has collected nearly 5,000 books that have been delivered to schools and childcare facilities throughout the region. 

This year's theme is Justice from the Beginning. The theme comes from a core belief guiding our work at the Office of Child Development: there are age appropriate ways for all children to learn about social justice, and picture books are an incredible tool do so. Through picture books that frame social justice concepts in ways that resonate with children, we can help children understand the importance of social justice. 

How Do I Donate Books?

You can buy as many books as you'd like by visiting our exclusive local partner, City of Asylum Bookstore, or buy directly from our Amazon Wish List. But we always like to support our local bookstores! 

Can I Donate Money Instead?

Yes! Follow this link, and be sure to donate to the Book Drive Fund. Some books are more popular than others, so giving money is a great way to ensure that that all books from the list are evenly distributed. We use all the money donated to purchase books from City of Asylum.

Where Will The Books Go?

We deliver books to a variety of locations throughout the Pittsburgh region, all of which serve young children. This includes schools, childcare centers, in-home childcare, and home visitors both in Pittsburgh and the surrounding neighborhoods. In 2020, despite the pandemic, we delivered more than 1,000 books to 100 different sites!

What happens after you deliver the books?

The Book Drive doesn't stop when early childcare receives the books. We work with educators and early childcare professionals to provide training on how to effectively use these books to spark meaningful conversations with children. Stay tuned for more information about the 2022 trainings!

Why these books?

The 25 books we selected for this year’s book drive represent a thoughtful, intentional process. We started with more than 70 books submitted by our staff and community partners. After establishing that initial list, we read every word and analyzed every illustration using a specialized coding tool designed by our Literacy and Learning Team.

The coding tool was developed with funding from an Office of Child Development Caplan Fund grant. It was adapted from the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard (CRCS), a New York University Metro Center tool designed to help parents, teachers, students, and community members determine the extent to which their schools’ English Language Arts curricula are (or are not) culturally responsive. We extended it one step further by adapting the CRCS to be used with picture books. We then rated books on a scale of 1 (does not have) to 5 (excellent) in two specific categories: Representation and Social Justice Orientation.

Representation included the extent to which children are reflected in the text, and the extent to which they are being exposed to a group of diverse of authors, characters, identities, and cultures. The scale used for this process consisted of 13 items across two primary categories: Diversity of Characters & Accurate Portrayals. 

Social Justice Orientation represented the way each picture book contributed to overall cultural responsiveness. This scale consisted of eight items across three primary categories: Decolonization, Power, and Privilege, Centering Multiple Perspectives, & Connecting Learning to Real Life and Action.

You check out the entire list here.

How Can I Become More Involved?

Thanks for your interest! If you'd like to partner with us as a corporate sponsor, foundation, nonprofit, or private donor, feel free to contact adamflango@pitt.edu.


2021 Book List