By Char Adams via https://www.oprahmag.com
“Connecting with people over books is something that always felt really good.”
During the summer of 2015, a round-faced young Black girl sauntered up to OlaRonke Akinmowo at the stoop of a brownstone in Brooklyn’s Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood. Clad in a colorful dress with braids in her hair, the wide-eyed 8-year-old was intrigued by the porch filled with books.
“She was like, ‘What are you doing with all these books?’ I told her, ‘These are books written by Black women, and I want to share them with people like you and me,’” Akinmowo tells OprahMag.com. “I said, ‘Do you like to read? Do you like books?’ She said, ‘Yes, I love books!’ I said, ‘Perfect, so do I! If you see anything you like, if you want, I will trade you. If you have a book by a Black woman writer, you can bring it to me, and we’ll trade!’”
The little girl ran home, returning less than an hour later. As Akinmowo promised, she swapped the little girl a novel from her collection—“and she was so happy!”
Books and community have always gone hand-in-hand for the nation’s Black …