We know there are age-appropriate ways for all children to learn about social justice, and the earlier we start, the better. Join us now 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.
A core belief guiding our work at the Office of Child Development is that 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, online or in person. We will pick up the books directly from their store. Buying from City of Asylum is a great way to support an outstanding local nonprofit, with a highly aligned mission! "City of Asylum builds a just community by protecting and celebrating freedom of creative expression."
Can I Donate Money Instead?
Yes! Follow this link, and be sure to donate to the Book Drive Fund. Giving money allows us to purchase books that are less frequently donated, so more children will have access to all of the titles on our list.
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, families, and home visitors. In the past, books have been donated to over 250 sites!
What happens after you deliver the books?
The Book Drive doesn't stop when early the books are donated. We provide free learning opportunities to early childcare professionals and caregivers on how to effectively use these books to spark meaningful conversations with children. Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming learning sessions!
Why these books?
The books we selected for this year’s book drive represent a thoughtful, intentional process. We started with many titles 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 Division and Pitt students.
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.
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 our office's Director, Shannon Wanless, at firstname.lastname@example.org.