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Signal Boost: Rainbow Boxes and Connecting LGBTQIA Books to Readers

rainbow boxesIf you’ve spent any time at all on Twitter recently, you’ve probably seen tweets about the Rainbow Boxes project. YA authors Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta have put together this fantastic project to send a box of 15 books to one library and one GSA or LGBTQIA homeless shelter in every state. From their fundraiser site: “We want these books to reach teenagers who need to see themselves in stories. We also want to push back against the notion that these stories hold no interest outside of the LGBTQIA community. Inclusive fiction is for everyone!” At the time of this blog post, their goal is $26,000 and they are already 25% funded. Their campaign will run for 60 days, ending on September 4, 2015.

 

Each Rainbow Box will include the following books:

Magoon, Kekla. 37 Things I Love (In No Particular Order).

Lo, Malinda. Huntress.

Cronn-Mills, Kirstin. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.

Sharpe, Tess. Far From You.

Saenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

LaCour, Nina. Everything Leads to You.

Farizan, Sara. If You Could Be Mine.

Levithan, David. Two Boys Kissing.

Duyvis, Corinne. Otherbound.

Charlton-Trujillo, e.E. Fat Angie.

Gregorio, I.W. None of the Above.

Polonsky, Ami. Gracefully Grayson.

Albertalli, Becky. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Konigsberg, Bill. Openly Straight.

London, Alex. Proxy.

 

Amy Rose Capetta was nice enough to take some time to share more information with me about the Rainbow Boxes project. I asked her how they will select what libraries, GSAs, or shelters receive the books. “We’re choosing the libraries/shelters/GSAs through a mixture of research, referral, and inquiries from people who hear about our mission. Because we’re looking to reach readers in all 50 states, we worry about relying on a simple application system. Some states would be vastly over-represented, while others might not apply at all! We need to be somewhat proactive in seeking these places out.”

 

I was curious how Capetta and Cori McCarthy came up with this project and how long they’ve been working behind the scenes on this campaign. “We came up with the idea in large part because of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. It was so inspiring to see a team of authors and people in the YA world take action. We got in touch with them before we launched Rainbow Boxes and they have been so supportive!”

 

“Cori and I have been working on this project for six months, while we revised novels and ran around doing book events. We love writing, but we also wanted to do something to give back, and to nudge this movement toward more inclusive stories–writing them, celebrating them, finding a way to connect them to readers who need them for so many different reasons. Many LGBTQIA teenagers have never seen stories with protagonists that reflect some of their major truths. Other readers might not pick up these great books until they’re more widely available. We really do believe that inclusive fiction is for everyone. When people give to Rainbow Boxes, they’re supporting that idea.”

 

So how can you help? If you are in a position to donate financially to the project, awesome. Their Indiegogo site allows you to donate in any amount. “We have suggested donation amounts that come with little perks (such as having your name in a specially designed Rainbow Boxes bookplate!) but with Indiegogo flexible funding you can donate any amount,” says Capetta. Can’t swing a monetary donation right now? They suggest the following ways of support:

  • Share! If you like what we’re doing, share it on any and all social media platforms, talk about it with people or at events, share within the literary community, the LGBTQIA community, and beyond!
  • Indiegogo has helpful share tools that you can use to make spreading the word about Rainbow Boxes quick and easy.
  • If you’re a writer, consider writing a message to your readership to let them know that you support Rainbow Boxes and LGBTQIA books!

 

To contribute and to learn more about this phenomenal project, visit their Indiegogo site. To keep up with their campaign, follow them on Twitter @RainbowBoxesYA. And before all of that, watch their video. Here’s to hoping this extremely worthwhile cause breaks its fundraising goals!

 

Comments

  1. This is a great project — though it’s not the first to do what it’s doing. The Make It Safe Project (makeitsafeproject.org) has been sending boxes of LGBTQ-inclusive books to schools, libraries and homeless shelters since 2011. (I’m not affiliated, but covered it a while back: http://www.mombian.com/2011/11/28/lesbian-teen-provides-lifeline-of-books-to-lgbt-youth/)

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