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Next Door emphasizes the importance of diverse children's literature

Just looking through the many books Next Door provides around the school, you can see the representation.
Posted at 6:31 AM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 07:31:05-04

MILWAUKEE — Next Door Foundation is a school that collects and distributes about 75,000 books a year. It ensures under-resourced children in Milwaukee are off to a great start despite their circumstances. Teachers and administrators emphasize the importance of reading through activities like a parade to celebrate learning.

TMJ4 is also committed to literacy. We believe in giving children opportunities who may not have access to a large number of books.

This week, TMJ4 reporter Symone Woolridge visited Next Door to read a book to the students. She decided to read 'Riley Can Be Anything' by Davina Hamilton. It's one of her favorite books to read to her one-year-old. The book is an inspiring story that follows a child named Riley who discovers all the things he wants to eventually become.

Symone asked two classes of five-year-old students if they know what they want to be when they grow up. Students were excited to share career interests like doctors, hairstylists, professional athletes, and dentists.

"When you look at them you just think they've got everything. Let's give them everything that they need to really be empowered," Cristina Crogan, the Vice President of Development and Communications for Next Door Foundation said. "We serve primarily African American students. When we're looking for books we want to see young children and their families who are primarily from Black families. Parents have different experiences."

Just looking through the many books Next Door provides around the school, you can see the representation.

"We just adapt to where their needs are and help them build different pieces of those skills ."

At the end of May, Next Door will host a Read for Children event. The goal is to raise money for the Books for Kids program to read for 15,000 minutes and collect 5,000 books that will be distributed to students at Next Door and others in the community. You can donate books, host a book drive, volunteer to read, etc. by going to

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