- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A teacher at Casey Elementary School in Jackson has raised hundreds of dollars to buy children’s books featuring diverse characters.

Ruth Ann Moss teaches second through fifth grades at Casey. The Clarion-Ledger reports that (https://on.thec-l.com/1yEaiFJ ) she found that her classroom library included few books with characters that her minority students could relate to.

So she launched a fundraising campaign through DonorsChoose.org to buy 67 biographies and fiction titles about African-American, Hispanic, native American and Asian characters.

“Our library is the heart of the classroom,” Moss wrote on the fundraiser web page. “However, as I did inventory and reflected on our library I realized that, quite frankly, most of the books in the library do not reflect my students’ backgrounds.”

According to statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, just 93 children’s books of the 3,200 published in 2013 featured African Americans.

The 67 books that Moss plans to buy include “Bravo! Chico Canta, Bravo!” about a multilingual theater mouse, three storybooks about an African-American girl named Dyamonde Daniel, and biographies of Gandhi, Sacajawea, Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson and Nelson Mandela.

By Saturday, 15 people had given the $649 she asked for - $551 for the books and $79 to support the website.

Moss thanked them in a statement on the website.

“I am continually delighted and amazed by the way my community is ready to support public education,” she wrote. “My students are voracious readers and several of them have read most of the books in my classroom library! This new infusion of books will help to sustain their interest in reading. Beyond that, this donation will diversify our library, adding more non-fiction and more books that include people of all sorts of races and backgrounds. Reading should open up worlds. Thanks for opening up this one for our students.”

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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