BED-STUY, BROOKLYN – Last summer, Bed-Stuy-born Brittany Thompson traveled to Herbert Von King Park to attend a peace rally after a shooting that tragically killed a one-year-old boy.
As the speakers pressed for community action, she began to consider how she could help.
“I sat down and thought, ‘I have to do something,'” Thompson told Patch. “… I knew my community was hurt for so many reasons and I wanted to do my part as best I could.”
Thompson, who teaches at a Manhattan high school, decided to stick with what she knows – the power of words.
With the community’s need for healing – and the recent struggles with distance learning – in her mind, Thompson whirled a fundraiser in hopes of bringing free books to the kids in her neighborhood. Two days later, it hit its destination and enabled Thompson to purchase 300 books from black and brown authors and distribute them to their community.
(Courtesy Brittany Thompson). Last year’s book trip in Herbert-von-King-Park.
She’ll do it again this weekend.
“I want to do this every year,” said Thompson. “Let’s make reading cool again.”
Thompson will be giving away at least 200 books for all ages at the Tompkins Avenue Merchant Association’s weekly block party this Sunday. She hopes to use the money she raised on a GoFundMe to buy more.
As last year, the selection, titled, will include stories written by People of Color with the aim of increasing representation in literature.
“We have so much resilience and our stories should be told and told by us,” Thompson said.
This year’s promotion includes 20 books by local author Adia Johnson, who will be entered into the raffle to sign copies of her book “21 Affirmations For Kids”.
The book promotion will be held in front of the Make Manifest BK boutique between Jefferson and Putnam Avenues from 1pm to 3pm.
Should further donations be received after that time, Thompson said she will return to Tompkins Avenue with more books in the coming weeks.
Children can stop by and choose which book to take home. The hope is that children can build their own collection of books that they don’t have to return, making it easier to start reading anytime they are ready.
Thompson says surrounding her own 10-year-old son with books was an integral part of showing him the power of reading.
“It’s about access – you may not be able to read it right away, but at least you have it,” she said. “One day you’re going to stare at this book and say, ‘I’m going to open it.'”
Find Thompson’s fundraiser here.
(Courtesy Brittany Thompson) Last year’s book ride at Herbert Von King Park.