Library of Congress celebrates Black History Month

The Library of Congress.

In honor of Black History Month, the Library of Congress hosted a diverse group of authors who submitted their multicultural childrens books to the library's collection.

Multicultural authors say they hope their books will help minority children connect with literacy.

"I like reading because it's like a dream, basically it makes you feel like you're actually in the book," said Kaleb Anderson, 8.

Anderson is a third grader at John Eaton Elementary School in Northwest.

"We read to him as an infant and he still reads," said his mother, Jacqueline Anderson. "He reads to us and reading is part of our family."

Anderson's current book of choice is "Wings" by Brooklyn author Christopher Meyers who he got to meet at the Library of Congress.

Anderson said he can relate to the characters because they look like him.

"They're my race and I learn a little bit more about my heritage," Anderson said.

According to the author, "not seeing ourselves in books is one of the reasons why we don't read, why we haven't engaged in literature."

"This is a life or death matter," Meyers said. "Literacy--we have a chance to make a change in that now."

According to the organization "Reading is Fundamental," 67 percent of white children are read to every day in America compared to only 35 percent of black children.

The Library of Congress is open to all researchers above high school age (16 and older), but recently has done more outreach to youth in Washington by hosting story time and other activities in the young readers center on the Library's first floor.

"It's a place for activities that promote books and reading," said John Cole, with the Library of Congress. "There's a read aloud chair, a family reading area, so it's a busy programming place and it's quite a new direction for the LOC."

After just two years, the Young Readers Center now has 150 visitors a day.