More than 1,200 books celebrating immigrants and refugees were delivered to Portland Public Schools on Thursday.
Portland-based nonprofit I’m Your Neighbor Books is teaming up 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 is held during a national “Welcoming Week.”
Organizers said the city chose to have a conversation focusing on immigration, using the novel “Infinite Country.”
On Thursday, volunteers went to schools to deliver picture books and novels to help students have their own conversations.
“When we have stories, when we can have people, even if they’re just characters in a book, in our mind, it transforms the conversation about immigration to families, to individuals and not about statistics and borders,” I’m Your Neighbor Books Executive Director Kirsten Cappy said.
“I think it’s really important for children of all ages to see themselves in a diverse array of experiences and peoples represented in literature and in their curriculum,” Dr. Kathleen McGovern of NEA Big Read, Portland, Maine said. “These books are aimed at helping springboard that discussion.”
NEA Big Read, Portland, Maine said Thursday was the kick-off of more than a month of events focusing on welcoming new Mainers.