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Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Photo by Arden Terry

Coppell—The Cozby Library and the Diverse Book Club partnered to host the Teen Read-a-thon in the Cozby Library on Saturday, March 12. During the event, teens choose books from a selection selected by the organizers, read books for half an hour, and then wrote a review of what they read.

Grace Munro, sponsor and host of the Diverse Book Club, is a senior at New Tech High.

“It spawned from the whole mission of the Diverse Club, and it’s an event that will hopefully get our message across,” Munro said. “The read-a-thon consists of two thirty minute periods where teens come in, choose a few books, and then go read them. If they don’t like them, that’s fine; they can go choose another. If they do like them, awesome. They’ll write a review of it, share their feelings about it, and hopefully they’ll open up their minds to different stories, and stories they’ve never heard before.

“I originally wanted to hold a book drive for this. It’s part of my Capstone. The book drive ended up falling through, because there are no shelters that needed books.”

Morgan Green-Griffin, a librarian at the Cozby Library, came up with the idea of aread-a-thon.

“Last fall I learned Grace was trying to get a Diverse Book Club started, but having difficulty,” Green-Griffin said. “It’s really hard to start something from scratch. She’s really running the event, and I’m just helping.

“Teen lead programing is an exciting way to not only get teens involved with the library, but also to get them involved with their peers.

“We thought it would be a good way to get them started with Spring Break, having a good book in hand to enjoy while they’re off of school,” Green-Griffin said.“[We are] trying something a little bit different from a traditional book club format. We’re also using the opportunity to collect book reviews from teens, so we can use [them] to maybe advertise some of these books.

“When teens arrive they will get to browse all these wonderful books. We’ll break and read for about thirty minutes, and then take a break for snacks, book reviews, and socializing. Then we’ll do that same thing again.”

The book selection for the read-a-thon was dived into different sections of representation. Most of the books were written by minority authors and/or were about characters in minority groups.

“We have a tone of [representation] in this read-a-thon,” Munro said. “We have Middle-Eastern representation, Asian representation, Pride [LGBTQ+] representation, strong women, mental health. Things like that. We also have Black, Latinx, Indigenous rep. We have all kinds of rep.”

“We tried to pull a very diverse selection of books in a variety of formats,” Green-Griffin said. “We have lots of graphic novels, along with novels, and we even have some non-fiction biographies included. We pulled from both our teen collection and our juvenile collection.”

“The goal is to get kids to feel more comfortable with themselves and with the stories we’re trying to share with them,” Munro said. “I hope this will help a lot of kids get comfortable more with diverse stories, because there is a criminal lack of representation and realization of that representation.

“My favorite book of all time, ‘The Extraordinaries,’is in the Pride section. They also have ‘Moxie,’ which is possibly one of my favorite standalone books.”

“I read a lot of graphic novels, and I absolutely adore ‘They Called Us Enemy’and ‘Displacement,’” Green-Griffin said. “Another book I like is the ‘Plain Janes.’”

Ravi Kolure is a parent who dropped off his children at the read-a-thon.

“Reading definitely will help them, so they get more ideas, and they implement them or come up with their own ideas,” Kolure said. “Normally on weekends they don’t have anything else to do. I think these kind of events definitely will encourage them to read as a team and discuss with their friends.”

“There’s a lot of books I didn’t know about, and they seem interesting,” Ananya Roy said. “I like fantasy and horror mostly. I picked out ‘Battle Dragons: City of Thieves.’[The book is] awesome, there’s a lot of action.”

Ishita Patio attended the read-a-thon with Ananya.

“It’s really fun and engaging,” Ishita said. “I picked out ‘Living With Viola.’It’s fun and relatable.”

“I thought [the event] would be an interesting way to get some reading done and to get some volunteer hours in,” Yuvan Muruganandhan said. “I’m enjoying [the event]. I like to read.

“I choose the ‘Montague Twins.’ I heard it’s a mystery book, and I’m a fan of mystery novels. It’s a bit slow paced, but it’s starting to pick up.”