BLACKFOOT, Idaho — Born and raised in the City of Blackfoot, Elizabeth Almanza spent most of her time inside the Blackfoot Public Library. Sometimes she would search for books inside the local thrift store.
Almanza said she realized she had limited access to books that represented her racial and ethnic background. Despite years passing by, Almanza said this continues to be a common issue in southeast Idaho. This became her motivation to organize a book drive.
Almanza collaborated with PODER of Idaho, Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho, and Community Council of Idaho to collect books.
“We really wanted to aim to gather books that were diverse and representative of historically marginalized groups in the area,” Almanza said.
Through this book distribution, organizers hope to connect children and teens with authors of color, culturally diverse books and increase access to books.
“When children and youth are exposed, or they see themselves in books, the books that they are reading, it can be a source of empowerment” Almanza said. “Books can also be used as a tool to expose inequalities and provide pathways to create change.”
As a counselor, Almanza utilizes books to help children learn about social and emotional learning. Along with helping children find a sense of community.
Community Council of Idaho’s Juanita Gonzalez is eager to be a part of this book distribution event.
“I just hope that when children come to this, they can pick their own book and they don’t have to worry about their parents taking out any money out to pay for it,” Gonzalez said.
The book distribution will be 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2. at St. Bernard’s Parish Hall, 584 W. Sexton St. Blackfoot, ID 83221.
Organizers encourage people attending to wear a mask.