NewsPinellas County


Word Book Box in St. Pete encourages children to read, open their imagination

Posted at 4:14 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 16:14:05-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With schools, libraries and recreation centers closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, families are looking for ways to educate and entertain their kids.

Lorielle Hollaway’s daughters love picking out a book at the newest Word Book Box location at the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation center in St. Pete.

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The best part for them is finding people who look like them, inside the pages.

“They love to read stories of strong black women, they love to read stories of strong women, they get inspired to see, ‘oh I can do this, I can do that,”’ said Hollaway.

“I like these books because they don’t just show one culture, you can find many cultures in there,” said 10-year-old Nadia Hardy.

“It’s very important for black and brown children to read about themselves in a positive light,” said Hollaway.

Hollaway’s passion for reading led her to come up with the idea of Word Book Boxes. They are free libraries filled with books specifically about minorities, and are placed in areas where they are needed most.

“The Word Book Boxes are strategically placed in low income areas in South St. Pete where parents may not have access to just purchase books right on their own,” said Hollaway.

The boxes are being placed outside, so despite everything else shutting down, your imagination is always open.

“We are going to have some Lysol in there, some Lysol wipes for the public, but we definitely want to make sure these kids are still reading,” said Hollaway.

So far, Word Book Boxes have been placed in four locations.

Here are the other three locations:

  • Community Health Centers of Pinellas at Johnnie Ruth Clarke
  • Jordan Park Apartments
  • Child’s Park Recreation