Drive gathers books featuring minority characters for East Austin

Damika Campbell, left, and her son, Fate. have noticed the lack of minority characters. (KXAN Photo)
Damika Campbell, left, and her son, Fate. have noticed the lack of minority characters. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A holiday book drive is gathering books that feature African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and LGBT characters.

The drive is a push from CounterBalance ATX, an Austin group of community advocates who say they want children to be exposed to different types of people and religions.

“I think its really important for a child to see themselves, like I said, in the book, but also recognize that there are different types of people in this world, I think that’s an issues that a lot of Americans deal with right?” Kristina Brown, president of the CounterBalance ATX, said. “I would love for a Muslim-American to get a book that has Muslim-Americans in it, an LGBT child to get a book that resonates with them and even further than that, to be able to show that there are other different types of people.”

They feel it’s important to give children books showing different colors, different stories and different struggles.

“It’s really important in order to encourage academic success or academic growth, that we make sure that kids feel represented within the stuff that they’re learning about,” Malcolm Harvin-Conner, the group’s community outreach coordinator, said.

The books will be delivered to the Elm Ridge Apartments in East Austin. People living in at the complex agree, they’d like to see variety in their children’s books.

“Everybody likes to see a familiar face when they’re reading something, or something that pertains to something that they’re going through in life, so that would be great for kids,” Damika Campbell, a resident and mother at the complex says.

Campbell’s son, Fate, is 11 years old and well beyond his reading level. Still, she says, characters that look like him are missing from the pages. “I think especially for him, he would like to see something that matches his face in a book, I know that would be great for him to see,” Campbell said.

The book drive runs until Dec. 20. If you can’t make it a drop-off location, click here for an Amazon registry, or for a list of drop off locations see below:

Photo Courtesy of CounterBalance ATX
Photo Courtesy of CounterBalance ATX