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The inspiring reason 1,800 books were donated to kindergarteners in Richmond, Petersburg

Larry Murphy: 'Each and every child is a king or a queen and so, we want to stress that. Especially when they're starting to learn about education.'
Read Across America
Posted at 12:53 PM, Mar 03, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- To mark Read Across America Day, the Urban League of Greater Richmond (ULGR) has donated 1,800 books to kindergarteners in Richmond and Petersburg public schools.

Thursday, ULGR visited Chimborazo Elementary School to deliver the books in person to the students and to read to the classes, along with several city and school leaders.

The three books are The King of Kindergarten, The Queen of Kindergarten, and Fry Bread.

Urban League of Greater Richmond President and CEO Larry Murphy
Urban League of Greater Richmond President and CEO Larry Murphy

"We hope the kids get some basic understanding around being kind, around fairness, around how you treat others, about teamwork. And then about self image," said ULGR President and CEO Larry Murphy of the three books they chose. "Each and every child is a king or a queen and so, we want to stress that. Especially when they're starting to learn about education."

Among those who read to the class was a former Richmond Public Schools (RPS) student herself -- Chloe Hagins. She said she is currently training to become a kindergarten teacher and wants to come back to teach at RPS.

To mark Read Across America Day, the Urban League of Greater Richmond (ULGR) has donated 1,800 books to kindergarteners in Richmond and Petersburg public schools.
To mark Read Across America Day, the Urban League of Greater Richmond (ULGR) has donated 1,800 books to kindergarteners in Richmond and Petersburg public schools.

"I feel like children are the pivotal aspect of our community. Building that foundation at a young age is important for them to become the doctors, the lawyers, and all of the people that we strive to see in our community," said Hagins, who added in a school system with so many Black and Brown students, representation matters. "For them to see that they can be the growth and the leaders that we have in our community. Also, I chose RPS because they allowed me to cultivate my voice and put me in spaces in places to be who I am today."

Hagins said she chose to read The Queen of Kindergarten.

"She is talking about the importance of being a queen, but, not in an image based aspect of things -- but, being kind to one another, talking to friends, and also helping out one another as well," said Hagins. "I think that this book is very important for the representation because we don't have a lot of these books in showing that we are royalty and royal as an aspect of rich as in being fulfilling and fulfilled, but also leaning on one another."

Chloe Hagins
Chloe Hagins

She added she hoped the message the kids take away from the book is that they matter.

"Also, being in the classroom and being in the space that you can impact everyone," she said. "Just that eight hours that they're at school is, kind of, just like a way to be free and cultivate the best version of yourself."

Chimborazo Elementary School
Chimborazo Elementary School

Murphy said this was the organization's first time doing a book giveaway for Read Across America Day, but planned to make it an annual thing.

"Our whole focus is around empowering people to do better within their community," said Murphy.

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