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‘Read Something, Do Something’: Culturally Inclusive Books Inspire Students to Become Change Agents

Inspired by book characters who mirror themselves and their communities, two teenagers realize that they, too, have the power to create change. See their visions come alive as they develop creative programs for their classmates to feel seen and supported in their Norcross, Georgia school.

Culturally Inclusive Books Inspire Students to Become Change Agents

Inspired by book characters who mirror themselves and their communities, two teenagers realize that they, too, have the power to create change. See their visions come alive as they develop creative programs for their classmates to feel seen and supported in their Norcross, Georgia school.

May 11, 2022

Meet Meadowcreek High School seniors Candace Bills and Jasmine Lopez-Sandoval, who discover the power of reading through their school’s Read Woke book club. Motivated by the stories they read in the club, the teens put the group’s motto into practice: “Read something, do something.” Bills and Lopez-Sandoval each design an innovative program and implement it at their school thanks to grant funding from the Hershey’s Heartwarming Project.   

Upon reading Angie Thomas’s “On the Come Up,” Bills creates a social justice talent show so that her peers can express their perspectives on issues that most affect them: racial and social justice, ensuring safe spaces for marginalized people, and the power of creativity to advance social change. 

Lopez-Sandoval reads Elizabeth Acevedo’s “With the Fire on High” and launches a book  club designed for teen moms. The initiative provides teen moms with diverse and culturally inclusive children’s books that help reflect their own community. 

Watch their projects come to life under the skillful mentorship of media specialist Cicely Lewis, national 2020 School Librarian of the Year and founder of the Read Woke book club and challenge. Read Woke, a movement in 29 states and three countries, encourages participants to access books that challenge a social norm, give voice to the voiceless, provide information about a group that has been disenfranchised, challenge the status quo, or have a protagonist from an underrepresented or oppressed group. 

This film is a collaboration between Teach for America’s One Day Studio and Gwinnett County Public Schools Television.

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