Paper Tigers just announced a new initiative called Spirit of Paper Tigers; the purpose is to “donate a selection of books which reflect the aims of PaperTigers, putting them into the hands of children in areas of need in different parts of the world.” The website states,

Many organizations are doing excellent work in getting books to children through schools and libraries in areas of need, and our efforts are not intended to replicate their work. The specific focus of this SPT project is to select a set of books published each year because their content, focus, and outreach express the goals of reading and literacy, as well as encouraging curiosity among young people about the world around them.

The central criterion in the mind of the selection panel was to give special recognition to books that, in addition to meeting conventional standards for excellence, will also contribute to PaperTigers’ broader aims of bridging cultures and opening minds, and of promoting greater understanding and empathy among young people from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities. Another criterion was that books selected had to be in English, or bilingual publications where one of the two languages is English.

This initiative sounds much better than the People of Color reading challenge that Dr. Debbie Reese blogged about recently (first and second post). The folks over at POC are trying to encourage readers to read more works by or about people of color. Although well intentioned, this doesn’t sit well with me because it seems like a hasty, easy way to get people to read more stories “about” people of color, but with less of a critical eye regarding accuracy or appropriation. Interestingly, the POC folks responded to Dr. Reese in their own post. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Click here for more information of the Spirit of Paper Tigers.

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