Suffolk County

Boston teacher launches online bookstore for black kids

BOSTON, Mass. — Brianna Perkins has a passion for books. During Black History Month, she hosted more than 100 story times on Instagram Live. “I’m getting new titles in everyday. I have maybe 70 titles stocked,” she said.

Brianna has transformed one of her rooms inside her home into an online bookstore. It’s called Lit For Black Kids. “I want everyone to be able to see and look at the books and to be able to see a mirror of themselves,” she said.

Brianna offers children’s books that highlight black characters and black authors and show joy. She launched the online bookstore after her Instagram account gained so much traction following the murder of George Floyd. Brianna often features self-published authors with unique stories, like 18-year-old Khyiana Tate. Khyiana is deaf. She says she rarely sees people of color in American Sign Language books, so that inspired her to create her own book. It’s called ‘Signing with Khy.’

Brianna is on a mission to get more books into schools, including her elementary school in South Boston, so more kids of color will read. “Only 40% of schools in Boston have a functional library and even if they do have a library, like my school, we do have a library, but it is very out of date, so to be able to bring books that are up to date and representative of our students are really important,” she said.

Brianna’s next project is to launch a bookmobile so she can get more books to students faster, both at school and at home.

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