Changing the world, book by book: Inside one woman’s mission to spread messages of inclusion

100 books that will help your children learn about diversity

UCF grad donating books focused on diversity to teachers around the country

Deeply impacted by what has been going on in the world, one Florida woman has made it her mission to spread messages of love, diversity and inclusion through books.

Ashleigh Taylor said the unrest that followed the death of George Floyd, and recent anti-Semitic comments made by celebrities on social media, fueled her to take action. As she began her mission, she decided that, instead of posting her thoughts on social media, she would call on her friends, family and followers to help her. Taylor’s initial goal was to donate one book a month to a teacher.

“I figured, I loved hearing the diverse stories when I was in elementary school, and I figured, ‘Hey, these stories I remember to this day. Why not shape a child’s memory, their education, their values on how they view other people by providing a book to their teacher?’” Taylor said.

A little more than a month into her project, she had distributed 100 books to classrooms — covering topics from race, religion and gender — across the country, thanks to donations she’s received from all over.

“I’ve sent books to North Dakota, Massachusetts, Virginia -- everywhere,” Taylor said.

She ensures the books match the reading level. The teachers are grateful, Taylor said, adding that she knows the books can make a positive impact in these kids’ lives.

"What matters is when you grow up, are you going to be a good person who treats people well? And I think that's something that teachers have so much influence over, especially through reading," she said.

Two lessons she’s hoping the children will learn are: “One, that they have a positive representation of themselves so they can see themselves in a book and say, ‘That’s me,’ and they can look up to something. The second thing is, I just really want them to see that there are people out there that don’t ‘like’ like them, don’t think like them, don’t pray like them -- and have those people shown in a positive light.”

[Learn more about Taylor’s book project firsthand on her Instagram stories]

The list below is all the books Taylor has sent to classrooms around the country. If you’d like to help by donating books, or if you are or know a teacher who would love to receive a book, contact Taylor here.

  1. The Name Jar
  2. Heather Has Two Mommies
  3. Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China
  4. Whoever You Are
  5. The Flower Girl Wore Celery
  6. The Very First Americans
  7. The ABCs of AOC: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from A to Z
  8. Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights
  9. Nappy Hair” (Dragonfly Books)
  10. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
  11. Melody: No Ordinary Sound (American Girl Historical Characters)
  12. Amina’s Voice
  13. Under My Hijab
  14. Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen
  15. Black Women in Science: A Black History Book for Kids
  16. Front Desk
  17. Jada Jones, Class Act
  18. Kimchi & Calamari
  19. Lin-Manuel Miranda (You Should Meet)
  20. Latke, the Lucky Dog
  21. My Family Adventure (Sofia Martinez)
  22. Mango, Abuela, and Me
  23. Other Words for Home
  24. Abuela
  25. The Rainbow Hijab
  26. The Butterfly (Patrica Polacco)
  27. Dumpling Soup
  28. How My Parents Learned To Eat
  29. A Picture Book of Anne Frank (Picture Book Biography)
  30. I Love My Hair!
  31. Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (The Questioneers)
  32. The Story of Civil Rights (DK Readers Level 3)
  33. The Story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  34. Luciana (American Girl: Girl of the Year 2018, Book 1)
  35. The Princess & The Pea (A Story from Africa)
  36. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher (Family Fletcher Series)
  37. The Story of Ruby Bridges
  38. All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism
  39. Inside Out and Back Again
  40. Barack Obama: Out of Many, One (Step into Reading)
  41. Blended
  42. Hurricane Child
  43. The Story of Frida Kahlo
  44. A Raisin In The Sun
  45. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Candlewick Biographies: Ella Fitzgerald
  46. Night (Elie Wiesel)
  47. We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street)
  48. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
  49. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas
  50. Mrs. Katz and Tush
  51. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman
  52. Frida Kahlo (Genius Series)
  53. Michelle Obama: First Lady, Going Higher (Step into Reading)
  54. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
  55. We Throw Color on Each Other! (Cultured Kids)
  56. Skin Like Mine (Kids Like Mine)
  57. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
  58. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  59. Chicken Sunday
  60. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World
  61. Chocolate Milk, Por Favor: Celebrating Diversity with Empathy
  62. Tia Isa Wants a Car
  63. Daniel’s New Friend (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)
  64. Koala Challah
  65. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
  66. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
  67. Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
  68. The Sign of the Beaver
  69. Keith Haring: I Wish I Didn’t Have to Sleep
  70. Too Many Tamales
  71. I’m New Here
  72. Number the Stars
  73. The Persian Cinderella
  74. A Scarf for Keiko
  75. Dress Like A Girl
  76. Lola Levine Is Not Mean!
  77. The Story of Barack Obama
  78. Last Stop On Market Street
  79. Save Me a Seat
  80. Momma, Did You Hear the News? (Talking to kids about race and police)
  81. Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup
  82. Lucky Broken Girl
  83. It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel
  84. Playing and Learning Together: Meeting Mimi
  85. Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
  86. Cora Cooks Pancit
  87. Kaya: The Journey Begins (American Girl Historical Characters)
  88. Esperanza Rising
  89. My Grandma and Me
  90. And Tango Makes Three
  91. The Dog Who Loved Tortillas
  92. Let’s Celebrate an Indian Wedding
  93. Bee-Bim Bop!
  94. Moti The Mitzvah Mouse
  95. Pink is for Boys
  96. Rebecca: The Sound of Applause
  97. A is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World
  98. Dream Big Little One
  99. The Good Cadilac
  100. The Upstairs Room

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About the Authors:

Dawn Jorgenson, Graham Media Group Branded Content Managing Editor, began working with the group in April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.