Explore NYXT Content Partner National Book Foundation
Creating Safe Spaces
The gift of books is one that allows us to use our imaginations to create spaces for ourselves where there are none. In 2016, the National Book Foundation took this one step further by announcing an expansion in its BookUp reading clubs specifically for LGBTQ teenagers. Through generous book donations and a reading list with LGBTQ authors, the BookUp club foster safe spaces for kids and an avenue to speak candidly about their experiences as they read and explore queer literary landmarks in New York. The goal of the clubs is for kids to see themselves reflected on the pages they read, and in turn, perhaps empower others, in an environment that doesn’t judge them.
Innovations In Reading
Since 2009, the National Book Foundation has hosted the Innovations In Reading award that honors works that have had a significant impact on the world through advocacy. 2016’s winner was Next Step Book Club, a reading program for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ages. The prize includes a $10,000 check that will allow the book club to expand its reaches and have an impact on more people in need. Runners-up include The Harry Potter alliance, which encourages readers to become activists; LGBT Books To Prisoners, which donates books to jails and cultivates reading lists for imprisoned LGBT; Limitless Libraries, which encourages the readers of Nashville to broaden their literary horizons through public libraries; and Traveling Stories; a pop-up bookshare aimed at helping children in low-income neighborhoods.
An Advocate For Books
To be the first woman and the first African-American to lead one of America’s most visible and prestigious literary organizations is kind of a big deal. But for National Book Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lucas, it’s all about the love for books. With a background in film and theater, Lucas is an advocate for the arts, but books are what she always came back to. She strives to create a more diversity within books and audiences because, as she says, “readers are everything, readers are everyone. It should be about building one big massive audience that’s reflective of where we live.” Lucas also intends to nurture reading and writing programs that inspire younger individuals to grow into being adult book lovers. “I would like to make sure that everyone everywhere loves books.”