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This Digital Library Is Changing How Black Children See Themselves

Mondo Davison aka "The Black Tech Guy" has a vision and his vision sprouts from the realities of his childhood. In a recent article, he talks about the fact that he didn't read a full book until the age of 20. It wasn't because he couldn't read or didn't have access to books, but rather it was due to his lack of interest.

"The books that were available in my classroom were LAME and completely unrelated to me," Davison explains. "I’m talking white leading characters, white supporting characters, white settings, white leaning plots, white language, etc. I saw zero value in the literary options."

It wasn't until he was in college at FAMU that he finally read a book cover to cover.

After becoming an educator in St. Paul Public Schools, he realized that not much has changed when it came to book resources. He notes that traditional short stories and books were still just as bland and disconnected to the minority experience as he remembered from his childhood.

This was a major reason he came up with Shortiez.

Shortiez is a digital library of culturally relevant short stories. The goal of Shortiez is to build the most robust digital platform of culturally relevant short stories.

"We want kids of color to see themselves reflected in the stories they read from day one. We want young scholars to be empowered by characters that look like them. We want storylines to be relevant. We want the language to be relatable. We want kids to enjoy reading, instead of impersonating it," Davison writes.

I had the chance to talk to Davison a little bit more about Shortiez, his background, and his hopes for the future of this necessary project.

What was the demographic of your schools, and do you think that affected your lack of interest even more?

The schools I attended K-12 were reasonably diverse considering I grew up in Minnesota. It was a mix of white, black, and Asian.

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