Our Why

Reading is our youth’s most important civil right. Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between poverty and illiteracy. Studies also show that there is a direct link between illiteracy and crime, as over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.

According to Us News and World Report, only 24% of Bessemer’s elementary students tested at or above proficiency in reading. Unfortunately, as students transitioned from elementary school to high school, those numbers dropped to a staggering 7%. Statistics also show that Bessemer’s poverty rate is 79% higher than the Alabama average and 125% higher than the US average. Bessemer has also been listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the US. These are very difficult and heart wrenching odds that are stacked against our children.

But there is one thing that will forever reign true about my beautiful city of Bessemer, AL; WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A VILLAGE! Therefore I am asking each of you to donate one book to an elementary student in Bessemer as we work to interrupt this disturbing narrative that’s being shaped about us.

Our Goal

Our goal is to help increase reading proficiency through these books. We hope that receiving a book written by a best-selling author, who is also a Bessemer native, will spark a personal connection that will encourage students to get excited about reading! We’ll also be sharing accompanying lesson plans with the teachers to aid in reading comprehension and retention.


Let’s bridge this literacy gap together and help these babies win.

Our Progress

Our target is to collect 500 books
    • Total Books Collected20%

    About the Book

    Sample pages

    Dandi McLion Has Her Say!

    Dandi McLion Has Her Say is a fun and engaging mixture of STEM, Social Emotional Learning and Character Education! It comes complete with a glossary to enhance reading comprehension and increase vocabulary.

    From this book, readers are sure to learn some pretty important facts about dandelions.

    The book also touches on core components of Social Emotional Learning like empathy, compassion and how to handle big emotions.

    Furthermore, it demonstrates how one can exercise Civic Responsibility to make a change in their world, which is a key element of Character Education.

    Dandi McLion Has Her Say encourages its reader to be courageous. It reminds them that their voice is powerful and that it deserves to be heard.

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