Stacey Byerly, a literacy coach at five IPS satellite schools, is excited about a recent grant she received from the American Library Association (ALA).

The Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Great Stories Club grant under the theme “Deeper Than Our Skins: The Present is a Conversation with the Past” allows Byerly to share the joys of literature through a diverse collection of books she hopes will connect with students.

Byerly chose Resource for the book club site, a live-in treatment facility for IPS students who are dealing with everything from substance abuse to issues at home that resulted in them becoming runaways.

“The three books I’ve chosen are all centered around different cultures,” said Byerly. “I researched the books and picked ones that our hard-to-reach audience would embrace and like.”

Those titles, which focus on African, Native American and Hispanic cultures, include:

  • “Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices,” edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
  • “Mother of the Sea,” by Zetta Elliott
  • “Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.,” by Luis J. Rodriguez

“I tried to do multiple cultures and different genres because I’m trying to expose the kids to different cultures but also find something engaging, because I really want them to start loving literature because many of them do not,” said Byerly.

She will also use the $1,200 stipend that comes with the grant to take students on field trips that connect with the books they’ll read — including trips to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the IPS Crispus Attucks Museum and more.

“Through the book club, my first goal is to get the students to learn to love literature and not rule out reading. Secondly, I hope to broaden their horizons on other cultures, and just provide the kids with experiences,” said Byerly. “And I hope that they see that there our adults out there that really care about them and want to do right by them. But, hopefully, they will learn to love books.”