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Books by Black authors delivered to kids at Riley Hospital for Children

A selection of books donated to the Sickle Cell Story Book Club at Riley Hospital for Children.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Members of a special club at Riley Hospital for Children recently received free books from students at Victory College Prep in Indianapolis.

The club is the Sickle Cell Story Book Club, which was started a year ago to benefit the approximately 350 children who are being treated by the hospital for sickle cell disease, says Dr. Julia LaMotte, a psychologist at Riley.

“We know that sometimes these kids have to miss school because they’re in the hospital and that means missed learning opportunities and missed academics and so we thought it was really important to support and promote reading,” LaMotte said.

The donated books, including titles such as “Hair Love” and “Brown Boy Joy,” are by Black authors and feature Black and brown characters. This is significant because, in the United States, sickle cell disease predominantly affects Black and brown families.

“Only about 9% of all kids’ books have black characters in them, and so we wanted to make sure that the books we were giving to our families were representative of their lived experiences,” LaMotte said.

More than 500 books have been provided to patients since the program began a year ago.

Along with the books, the students at Victory College Prep also donated $1,250 to the Sickle Cell Story Book Club.

For those wanting to donate to the program, please visit the Riley Cheer Guild wish list website.