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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Pages of Color opens to a new chapter of representation

The Pages of Color Club works to highlight books with characters of color. Sophomore and club co-founder Kerisa Ramirez said there is a lack of diversity in books and hopes this book drive will contribute to changing that.

Chatter fills the library as herds of students bustle in, rushing to find a seat before they are all taken. Amidst this chaos, the Pages of Color Club starts its meeting in a quiet, secluded room at the front of the library.

The Pages of Color Club received its name from its main goal of highlighting authors of color. Founded last year by sophomore Kerisa Ramirez and senior Seraiah Belfon, the club members read books with diverse characters. They hope to organize multiple book drives this year and donate the books to women’s and children’s shelters across Boston.

The club meets every X-block in the library and talks about the books that they read in a more casual, discussion-style format. The students read up to a certain part of the book and, then, discuss the plot during the meeting.

Last year, they read the book “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon and celebrated finishing the book with a party.

Sophomore member Natalie Adler said the small size of the group contributes to a close-knit feeling within the club.

“It’s a community, it’s friends, it’s people you can talk about anything with and it’s a really good way to find new authors just from the books that we look at and decide to read,” Adler said.

Ramirez and Belfon hope the club helps break barriers between women of color and reading.

“I wanted there to be a club for women of color where they wouldn’t feel judged for liking books. I feel like there’s a stereotype that I’ve dealt with that’s like, ‘Oh, Black kids don’t read’ or ‘Hispanic kids don’t read,’ so I just wanted to make a club where people who do like to read can express their love for that without being judged,” Ramirez said.

Guidance Counselor Sara Aggeler, the club adviser, said the Pages of Color Club does important work in helping students feel seen.

“I think that bringing visibility to authors of color is super important for us as a school overall. Seeing more, having more [experiences] available for our students in our club and for the greater Brookline school is important,” Aggeler said.

Ramirez said spotlighting diverse authors is important because it draws people in and makes reading more appealing to many. In contrast, the dearth of diverse characters does the opposite and might make some not want to read at all.

“I think it’s important to show or showcase authors of color because when I was growing up I did not see any authors of color on the bookshelves or any POC main characters, ever,” Ramirez said. “I remember the first book I actually read with a POC main character became my favorite book and I think that was why.”

The club is also looking to organize multiple book drives this year, following the highly successful book drive at the end of last year, where they donated books to St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children in Dorchester.

Sophomore Sofia Oviedo, a member of the club, said the book drives are really important because it gives people who can not afford books opportunities to access them.

“There are a lot of people who can’t afford books but are very interested in reading and want to have a better education. I think this book drive is really helping to increase the education for other people,” Oviedo said.

The book drives are also a major goal for Ramirez because the need for books is often forgotten about and books are scarcely donated. The Ramirez and Pages of Color Club is looking to change that.

“I want to try to get as many books as possible, because when we gave the books last year, [the shelter] said that no one really thinks to donate books, but books are still important,” Ramirez said. “When you’re struggling, a book isn’t going to come to your mind as something you need to buy. So, it’s just good to be able to give those things to people that they aren’t able to afford always.”

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