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One for the books

The story in this book drive comes with an important message.   

Anna Ching, a rising Haine Middle School sixth grader (pictured at right), began a book drive in May in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The idea came from an area resident and a social media post on the Pittsburgh Chinese American Association social media group. In that post, students were encouraged to start book drives at their schools. A. Ching

“The purpose of the book drive was to enhance the awareness of the AAPI culture, history and contribution to our great country,” stated Anna’s mom, Clair Song. “Having more books about AAPI culture on school bookshelves will help kids (Asian and other races) learn more about diversity, respect and equality.” Ms. Song added, “I talked to Anna about this book drive and she loved the idea and immediately took action! I am very proud of her!”

Anna first reached out to the other Asian American students she knew for help and asked them to reach out to more people. She also asked for help from her non-Asian friends. With the support of some fellow fifth graders, Leah Malley, Riya Patel, Shantanu Khedkar, Dahlia Marcin and Caroline Holmes, along with HMS Librarian/CIRC Teacher Eric Fogle, they were able to donate 10 books to HMS Library.

D. Marcin"I decided to help Anna with this book drive because she explained it was a way to represent her ethnicity and others,” said Miss Marcin. “I know that preventing hate toward Asians and equality is very important to my friend. I also love books and libraries, so I thought this was a good opportunity to donate to ours. I think this drive was a great idea and Anna did a fantastic job explaining the idea and recruiting books. I'm proud of her and the other people that donated and took action for a good cause.”

Pictured left: Dahlia Marcin holds one of the ten donated books along with students who are virtually shown (L-R) Anna Ching, Leah Malley and Riya Patel. Other students who donated, but are not shown in the picture: Caroline Holmes and Shantanu Khedkar.

“My goal was to just get all the books into the library so that there would be a more diverse range of books so that people like me can see themselves represented on the shelves,” stated Miss Ching. “I hope people from all different experiences and backgrounds would read these books. You don’t have to be Asian American to relate to any of the experiences in these books.”

Anna intends to continue this effort next year and hopes to start earlier to gather more books and involve more people. She is also planning to work with Mr. Fogle to do fun activities like a book club to promote these books next school year.

She added, “If you really believe in or are passionate about something you should take a stand. Even if you think what you’re doing doesn’t have an effect, small things lead to bigger things!”

Book Drive











Pictured above: Riya Patel (left) and Leah Malley (right) holding up descriptions of the books they each purchased and donated to the book drive.