The Conway Public Schools Foundation introduces a new book list for students in kindergarten to 12th-grade which includes more diverse and culturally responsive literature.

The Conway Public Schools Foundation, in partnership with The Kitchen Store and the Conway Rotary Club, has compiled the new book list in response to racial equality movements rising across the nation calling for more education regarding diversity.

“Given today’s current and social atmosphere we felt it was important to introduce kids to the idea of diversity and tolerance as early as we could,” Courtney Kennedy, President of the Conway Rotary Club, said. “I believe this initiative will introduce into the curriculum topics of multicultural diversity that will create students that are more welcoming and understanding of one another’s differences.”

This project aimed to encourage students to read about our current climate surrounding diversity and understanding. “We are excited to partner with CPSF and support its mission of helping teachers help students with new resources that celebrate the diversity in our schools,” Tricia O’Connor with The Kitchen Store, said.

The 21 books on the list include characters, authors, and topics that represent a diversity of race, ethnicity, color, socio-economic status, and more. Known titles such as Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson are included in the list.

“I am so pleased to serve on a board that recognizes the importance of inclusive education.” Shaneil Ealy, CPSF Board of Directors Vice President, said. “It’s so meaningful for minority students to be able to enter a space and see themselves represented in literature.”

Central Diesel Services LLC, Corey Parks, and Drew Spurgers also contributed to the purchase of these books.

“I think adding these titles is a universal way to ensure that all Conway students have access to quality literature relating to the African-American culture,” Jamille Thomas, former CPSF board member, and current district media specialist said.

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