More than 1,200 books celebrating immigrants and refugees were delivered Thursday to public schools in Portland.
I’m Your Neighbor Books, a Portland-based nonprofit, is partnering with the University of Southern Maine’s Department of Literacy, Language, and Culture to bring the books to schools to kick off the ” NEA Big Read, Portland, Maine”.
The event also takes place during a national “welcome week”.
Organizers said the city chose to have a conversation focused on immigration, using the novel “Infinite Country.”
On Thursday, volunteers went to schools to deliver picture books and novels to help pupils have their own conversations.
“When we have stories, when we can have people, even if they’re just characters in a book, in our minds, it turns the conversation about immigration to families, to individuals and not about statistics and borders,” I’m Your said Neighbor Books executive director Kirsten Cappy.
“I think it’s really important for children of all ages to see themselves in a wide range of experiences and peoples represented in literature and in their curriculum,” said Dr. Kathleen McGovern of NEA Big Read, Portland , Maine. “These books are meant to help start that discussion.”
NEA Big Read, Portland, Maine, said Thursday kicked off more than a month of events focused on welcoming new Mainers.