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Woodford Academy Book Fair Empowers Students to See Themselves in Stories

Woodford Academy students are dreaming big after a special book fair hosted by As Told By Foundation, a nonprofit which aims to amplify the voices of Black children through the power of culturally relevant literature.

During the book fair, each of Woodford’s more than 250 students was able to select two books by Black authors to take home for free, featuring positive Black stories and characters.

First-grade student Ashani Keith described why she picked the book “Girls Like Me,” a book that follows the journey of a curly haired little girl as she explores the many different careers that children can pursue.

“I like science and I like her hair,” Keith said. “I like to read a lot so that’s why I like the books. There’s a bunch of new words that you can learn.”

“We love books!” students exclaimed as they entered the book fair, but it was all quiet as they exited, already diving into their new books.

“Students were so excited even just to get two free books, and then it was amazing to see their faces as they got to see the types of books available,” Woodford Academy Principal Kaitlin Dauner said. “They were able to select something that interests them whether it’s sports, astronomy or another topic.”

As Told By Foundation Founder and Director Arin Gentry emphasized the importance of literacy and engaging students in reading.

“Its so important that we're getting books into their hands to make sure that they have access to books but then more importantly, making sure that they're able to read books that they want to read,” Gentry said. “We want students to be able to read about stories they can relate to.”