MILWAUKEE — She doesn't have wings or wand but Milwaukee's 'Barby The Book Fairy' is just as magical as they come.
"Barby the Book Fairy is a community worker, and we’ve been delivering books in the area codes 53204, 53215 for the children and families in our community," Barbara Cerda said.
Cerda is Milwaukee's 'book fairy.' Since April, she has donated more than 6,000 books to eight Little Free Libraries in and around the Lincoln Village neighborhood, on Milwaukee's south side.
Meet Barbara Cerda a.k.a Barby The Book Fairy 🧚📚— James Groh (@JamesGroh_) December 21, 2020
Since the pandemic began, she has donated **6,000 books to 8 Little Free Libraries** around her neighborhood. She puts an emphasis on books by Black & Brown authors since they and the book characters reflect her neighborhood. pic.twitter.com/hDnuSMec9T
It started out casually with her cleaning her home at the start of the pandemic and donating some books to Little Free Libraries. She noticed how fast they were gone, so she decided to keep refilling them over and over again. She reached out on Facebook and got so much help she created her own Facebook page and website to help organize it all.
Months later, she is focusing on stocking shelves with books by Black and Brown authors.
“That’s what my neighborhood looks like. These are, you know, the people that live here and I thought that it was important to make sure that we’re providing books that are speaking to us,” Cerda said.
Seeing people, reading names, and hearing stories that are familiar to the reader are important parts of culturally relevant literature.
"It’s really empowering especially for children to grow up knowing that, you know, they belong.”
Some of her books are in Spanish and some are in English. It's all a deliberate act to best help her community and neighborhood.