According to WMTV in Wisconsin, when an excited elementary school student asked Michelle Belnavis if she was the “owner” of Read Your Heart Out, she proudly said, “I’m the mother of Read Your Heart Out. This is my baby that I’ve nurtured for 16 years now.”
Students and educators currently celebrate Read Your Heart Out Day in more than thirty-five Wisconsin schools. It is held in conjunction with Black History Month and National African-American Parent Involvement Day.
Read Your Heart Out (RYHO) brings African-American community leaders and parents into the schools to read books written by black authors, or featuring African-American characters. Belnavis explained, “It’s not just about celebrating diversity and building positive identities. So many of our students of color do not feel like they are represented in a positive way. So this is an opportunity to show them . . . in books . . . where they can overcome obstacles, when they can strive to succeed, when they can do what others may think they can’t do. They can be beautiful, see themselves as a beautiful person inside and out.”
She added, “This is my big takeaway for RYHO–seeing the families come in. Their eyes light up when they see themselves present. Understanding they belong here and making that really intentional makes it all what it’s supposed to be—not only for kids, but also adults. They are learning about cultures they might not know about.”
Dear readers, during these days of social distancing, picking up a good book can be a great option. Many times reading a book resonates with one's true self and can foster growth. In my experience, reading about females who have excelled in their field has definitely inspired me to write books. Sharing examples regarding this would be much appreciated.