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Organization installing book houses across Grand Rapids to collect black literature

Posted at 10:37 PM, Dec 05, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A woman in Grand Rapids has a goal to offer access to black literature to the Grand Rapids community.

The Black Book Exchange Box began with Aarie Wade's desire to highlight the importance of black representation in books.

"It’s hard to find books that are written by black authors, and that represent black people,” said Wade, founder of The Black Book Exchange GR. “I decided that the books that go into this house, will be people that look like me.”

With a grant from the city's Neighborhood Match Fund, Wade was able to purchase six book houses that will be installed in front of several homes across Grand Rapids, and plans for all of them to hold stories that relate to the black experience.

“There’s a lot of book houses around the neighborhood, that don’t really connect with my kids. They visit them, and there’s no books that they can connect with the stories,” said Wade.

To make things more interesting, Wade partnered with Grand Rapids artist E'lla Luster Webber, to create unique designs on the outside of the boxes, that compliment the stories inside.

“To give my houses life. And what she brought to these houses, is just as amazing as what’s inside them," said Wade.

With the community's support, Wade is hoping to keep at least 50 books in rotation for each house.

If you would like to support The Black Book Exchange Box GR, you can purchase books through We Are LIT GRand visit the group's Facebook page for drop-off locations.