Chippewa Valley African American Parent Network Hosts Book Drive – Macomb Daily

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The Chippewa Valley Schools African American Parent Network celebrates African American History Month by preparing for National Reading Month, seeking to bring a greater diversity of literary voices to schools.

The Chippewa Valley Schools African American Parent Network (AAPN) held an African American History Month book drive throughout February. The campaign started on February 1.

Drop boxes have been set up at several schools, but with the onset of winter vacation in the Chippewa Valley School District, donations are now being accepted at a drop box at the District Administration Building, 19120 Cass Ave. in Clinton Township, and open weekdays even during the break from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The administration building will be closed only on February 21 and 22. AAPN founding president La’Trise Smith said donation arrangements can also be made by contacting her at 586-709-6630 or [email protected]

Students, staff, and the public are encouraged to donate a fiction or nonfiction book written by an African American author or discussing African American topics.

La’Trise Smith, founding president of the Chippewa Valley Schools African American Parent Network, collected books on African American subjects or with African American authors to donate to district libraries. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LA’TRISE SMITH)

“All new and lightly used K-12 books are accepted. We focus on elementary, students should be able to read to a certain level by third grade,” Smith said.

Donations will be accepted until Feb. 28, according to Smith. The donated books will be used to stock school libraries for a special day of reading on March 2 from 7-8 p.m., hosted by the AAPN on National Reading Day across America.

Smith said the AAPN decided to start the book drive to allow schools in the district to provide a greater diversity of book choices and educational information to students across the district. The campaign started with the school community of parents, staff and students, but expanded to allow for community donations.

“We learned in conversations with students that there wasn’t a lot of diverse literature in libraries for all students,” Smith said.

A book drive also offered the opportunity to develop a low-risk COVID-19 cause and accompanying activity.

“This is a Read-In on March 2, a Zoom event on National Reading Day,” Smith said. “We’re going to have, my 13-year-old son will be hosting, and another eighth-grader is a twice-published author. He will read in his books. We focus on children from kindergarten to grade 5. He will do a reading from his book and we will give away two of his books and then provide coloring bookmarks for the students. Parents post information about kids on social media, and we put names in a drawing for gift cards to encourage reading.

The AAPN was founded in March 2020 at schools in the Chippewa Valley and is accessible to families at all grade levels in the school district. Smith said it was founded to provide diversity, support and education programs for all students. When the program started during the pandemic, it started out primarily as a virtual and social media-focused group, according to Smith. It now includes not only resume writing and academic roundtables, but also field trips to places like the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and an upcoming STEM (science, technology , engineering and mathematics). To learn more about the Chippewa Valley Schools AAPN, visit chippewavalleyschools.org/for-parents/aapn-african-american-parent-network. The group accepts donations to payschoolsevents.com/events/details/14672.


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