Charlotte author connects kids to culture

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When author Leah Rapley was completing a research project in Cochabamba, Bolivia, there was a lack of data available on her topic of choice: Afro-Bolivians.

 “As I started doing research, there wasn’t enough information on Afro-Bolivians. They weren’t recognized as an ethic group in the community,” Rapley said.

The lack of information prompted her to raise awareness about the Afro-Bolivian culture through a children's book. 

"Until the Mirror Smiled Back at Me" is about a young girl who sees pride and beauty in her heritage as an Afro-Bolivian princess, despite the adversities that her culture faces. Rapley hopes the book empowers young readers of all ethnic backgrounds to value their culture.

“Reading opens up a world of desire to be curious and explore,” Rapley said.

Rapley, a site coordinator at Communities in Schools of Mecklenburg County, connects students and families with community resources that assist with the student’s academic and nonacademic needs.

“We have to consider the barriers to a student’s education that we can address,” Rapley said.

One of those barriers is access to books. “Simply providing access is allowing kids to have the opportunity to read,” she said.

TV64 has partnered with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library to help improve literacy and increase access to books across the Carolinas as part of 64U Books for Kids. You can donate new and gently used books for children and teenagers at any Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library location until April 21.

All donated books will be distributed by the library to area children and teens through Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Outreach Services without the need to check out and return the book. Find  more information by clicking this link and visiting www.64UBooksForKids.com.