Dottie Pheney, a Farmington Community Library paraprofessional, reads “Bugs Galore” to children in 2015 at a district media center.

Dottie Pheney, a Farmington Community Library paraprofessional, reads “Bugs Galore” to children in 2015 at a district media center.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Farmington Area PTA Council receives grant for diverse books

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published December 18, 2018

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FARMINGTON HILLS  — A grant to a local school group will put more diverse books on the shelves of Farmington Public Schools’ media centers.

The Farmington Area Parent Teacher Association Council recently received a $1,000 grant from the Farmington and Farmington Hills Foundation for Youth and Families.

“We applied specifically for diverse books,” Farmington Area PTA Council President Beth Hulett said.

The nonprofit PTA Council represents 16 early childhood, elementary, middle and high school PTAs and PTSAs in Farmington Public Schools. The grant, Hulett said, will help the PTA Council accomplish its mission of reaching every student with books that reflect their family, community and world as it relates to diversity.

“In our increasingly diverse nation, global awareness and a deep understanding of cultural equity and diversity are very important,” she said in a press release.

Hulett added that she has been consulting with school district librarian Jim White.

“Our plan at this point is to touch every media center,” she said of the 16 media centers.

She also said that the district librarian is evaluating which schools need diverse books for “equitable distribution.”

“Some of (the) schools may have already received support in that area, so we don’t want to duplicate that, so we will be touching all the media centers,” she said. “The goal is to find books that reflect our community: That may cover race, ethnicity, disability, girls and women being empowered, nontraditional households, things like that.”

Hulett said that Hillside Elementary School has many international students, including many of Eastern Indian descent.

The Farmington and Farmington Hills Foundation for Youth and Families, according to its website, supports programs and provides funds to help the quality of life for children, youth and families in need within the communities of Farmington and Farmington Hills.

Liz Hood, an administrator for the foundation, said in a press release that the foundation supports programs and provides funds to improve the quality of life for children, youth and families, “particularly those in need within the communities of Farmington and Farmington Hills.”

White said in an email statement that all children should be able to find themselves in books.

“When any of us discover the books that seem to be about us, that tell the stories that reflect our experiences, that have main characters that look and think like us, it is an affirmation that who we are matters,” he said, adding that it is a strong motivation to keep reading.

“In FPS, we are trying to make sure that we have these books available to our incredible diversity of students in media centers and classrooms across the district,” White said. “This … grant is specifically going to help media centers, and it is a wonderful collaboration.”

Other grants have been given to  the Farmington Public Schools Homeless Program, Neighborhood House, the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market, and Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Michigan.

For more information, email info@ffhfoundation.org or call (248) 426-1190.

For information on how to donate diverse books to FPS media centers, email councilpresident@farmingtonareapta.org.

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