In childhood, books are one of the first types of media we learn from. Children’s books can impart important lessons, and expose young people to cultures and experiences different from their own. Diverse representation in all media fosters inclusion, acceptance, and empathy. For children, encouraging these concepts can be especially important. With this understanding, Random Acts supporter Sharon Sutherland sought to expand diversity in the stories children in her area are reading by donating a variety of books to Free Little Libraries throughout her community of Vancouver, British Columbia.
As with so many things this year, Sharon’s act of kindness was impacted by COVID-19. What started as a straightforward act of buying and distributing books to free community libraries became complicated by library closures and new donation protocols for those remaining open. While this slowed Sharon down, she persevered to complete her act in a slightly different way. Rather than one big donation, Sharon placed orders from local bookstores and delivered books in small batches over several weekends. With this change, she was able to expand her original donation area, accommodating libraries where books were borrowing out at faster rates.
Ultimately, Sharon distributed 54 books to several Free Little Libraries, using both Random Acts funds and her own. She chose books aimed at ages 2-18 to include as many children as possible. Each title was selected on recommendations from librarians and teachers, as well as BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ authors. She hopes these books will amplify voices of marginalized communities, ensuring every child sees themselves represented in books they read.
Sharon also noticed that her interest in diversifying books in her community caused a ripple effect. She now sees a broader selection of books also reflected in the local bookstores she purchased from. Sharon’s effort to bring more inclusivity to her area appears to be inspiring others to do the same. This once again shows the incredible power of a single act of kindness.
Here at Home
If Sharon’s work has inspired you, please visit our Sponsored Acts page to see how you can perform an act of kindness in your area! If you’d like to get involved on a more regular basis, see our Vacancies Page for available positions here at Random Acts!