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The Literati Book Fair is making an appearance at Wadewitz Elementary school until Friday, Nov. 4. Despite students having access to purchase new books, the fair poses a problem for underprivileged and low-income students who are unable to afford new literature.

Kim Anderson, president of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), is addressing the inequity by putting books in the hands of students this week, free of charge. Not just one or two books, but nearly 560 books will go home with local students.

Bringing the book fair to Wadewitz

Anderson has two of her own children enrolled at Wadewitz. The oldest being in 5th grade has never experienced a book fair at school. This year, the narrative changed.

The volunteer for the school has worked to collect thousands of books, since April 2022. Originally, Anderson hoped to host a used-book fair as a way to generate income for the school.

However, donations fell short to accommodate distributing free books to students and having enough available for purchase through the PTA’s own fair.

“We decided to proceed, which was to make sure that every kid gets a book, regardless of their ability to pay for a book. Because it’s about putting books in the hands of children, not really about making the money at this point,” says Anderson.

Nevertheless, she and the PTA have brought the Literati Book Fair to the school to offer students the ability to score new paperbacks while earning rewards for Wadewitz school.

“Although there has been some acute overlap,” says Anderson, “it’s just coincidental,” between the books being given away and books available for purchase.

Addressing inequity

Students and families who are unable to afford items included at the Literati Book Fair are still getting a fair chance at scoring new-to-them tales and stories. Anderson notes they are a Title 1 school and 80% of students at the elementary school fall below the poverty guidelines.

Anderson, the PTA, and the school believe that students deserve access to educational resources and tools without a financial barrier.

The book giveaway is one way the school is working to close the gap to ensure all students have equal opportunities.

Donate your books

“If people have books that they’d like (to) donate that are appropriate for elementary school kids, I would love to take them. I would love to do it again next year because I think that this has a lot of value,” says Anderson.

Arrangements to make donations can be made by emailing wadewitzpta@gmail.com.

Public welcome to visit school

The fair is open during school hours on Nov. 2 and until noon on Nov. 3. The public is welcome to come to the book fair, purchase a book and support the students.

“If a week-long book fair wasn’t enough, we’re also celebrating UNESCO recognized holiday Día de Muertos,” says Anderson.

Credit: Kim Anderson

While visiting, you may notice the halls are decorated for the indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead. The public is also encouraged to celebrate with the elementary school.

During parent-teacher conferences on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, parents, students and teachers are welcome to celebrate by visiting their oferendas (offerings). In addition to visiting, the PTA has ordered Pan de muerto, a traditional sweet bread, for every student to try.

“My vice president Karla Rodríguez has been working tirelessly to prepare, educate and share this tradition with our students, staff and community again this year,” says Anderson.

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