2020 Book Drive

We're thrilled to announce our 2020 Books for Change theme: Raising Antiracist Readers! Throughout the month of November, we will be collecting books selected by our team of early childhood experts that support our theme of Raising Antiracist Readers.

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 more than 3,000 books that have been delivered to schools and childcare facilities throughout the region. 

This year's theme is Raising Antiracist Readers. This summer saw the country's latest tragic acts of racial injustice followed by inspiring movements and organizing to support racial justice and equality. Our Office has worked to support social justice and racial equity, and this year's 25 books reflect that aim. With each title, we hope promote positive racial identity development in children. We're also excited to be partnering with local bookstore City of Asylum, which will have all the titles available to donate on November 1. Have questions about the book drive? See some of our FAQs below or email adamflango@pitt.edu for more information. 

How Do I Donate Books?

You can buy as many books as you'd like by visiting local Pittsburgh bookstore City of Asylum or our Amazon wish list.

If buying the books from City of Asylum's website, make sure to choose from the Raising Antiracist Readers Book Drive tab (under Kids Books), and when you order, the book will automatically be shipped to the store. That's all! Office of Child Development staff and members of the Pitt community will make sure that the book is delivered.

If buying books from our Amazon Wish List, simply select books from our Amazon wish list, and make sure they are shipped to the Office of Child Development's address: 400 N Lexington Street, Suite LL104, Pittsburgh, PA 15208. We'll take it from there!

Can I Donate Money Instead?

Yes! Follow this link, and be sure to donate to the Book Drive Fund. You can give money starting right now! Any money donated will go directly to purchasing books for donation. This is a great way to ensure that a variety of books get donated to children around the region.

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, and in-home childcare, both in Pittsburgh and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Why these books? What makes your book drive different?

The 25 books we selected for this year’s book drive represent a thoughtful, intentional process. Whether it was a new title or a timeless classic, each book was required to meet our high standards and fit the 2020 theme of Raising Antiracist Readers. 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 Evaluation and Research 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 Scoercard (CRCS), a New York University Metor 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.

The process took months, first to adapt the tool, then to field the submissions and evaluate each book. But in the end, it resulted in 25 books that are aimed at Raising Antiracist Readers. 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.


2020 Book List