Help a Sixth-Grade Teacher in Mississippi Supply Her Kids With Books!

Support amazing teachers through TakePart’s Great Back-to-School Challenge this September!
Share the joy of reading with kids in Mississippi. (Photo: _ta'_ )
Sep 3, 2012
Kelly Zhou has written on a variety of topics for TakePart, predominantly politics, education, and wildlife.

[Update] Thank you so much to everyone who donated! The Mississippi school project has just been funded, but there is another teacher that urgently needs your help buying music instruments for her students at a high-poverty school in Ohio.

Mrs. Batdorf's middle school students have a passion for music, but are stuck using old, worn-out instruments. While there is much support in the community for music education, funding is not adequate. Students share instruments, most of which are over 20 years old, and the little budget they have is spent on reeds and repairs.

You can purchase a new trombone for her students through DonorsChoose:


In the high-poverty area of Friars Point, Mississippi, it is difficult for Ms. Henderson to supply enough fiction novels for her 40 sixth-grade students. She wants to engage her students in though-provoking books and is calling on kind strangers to help her purchase copies of the immigrant story Esperanza Rising.

You can help Ms. Henderson via DonorsChoose, an online charity tailored for classrooms.


Ms. Henderson’s students are required to improve their English and social studies skills, yet Ms. Henderson says, “they have a hard time focusing on learning about foreign places when they see no relation to their own lives.”

In Esperanza Rising, the novel Ms. Henderson is requesting for her students, the protagonist is a carefree 13-year-old girl in Aguascalientes, Mexico. When bandits kill her father, a host of problems force Esperanza’s family to move to California. Her story, as written by author Pam Muñoz Ryan, sheds light on the experience of being a Mexican immigrant in an entirely foreign place.

This novel, she explains on her DonorsChoose project page, will allow her students to “improve their reading skills, expand their knowledge about Mexico, and also realize the common thread of humanity found in every person, whether you are a kid in a small town in the South or a young girl from Mexico.”

For Henderson, the challenge is helping students who fall behind in the K-12 system. She welcomes any and all resources, needing all the help she can get to make her students successful. Additionally, she spends an extra $100 to $200 of her own money each month to provide materials for her students.

“I am always asking for books because my students, on average, are two years behind in reading,” Henderson told TakePart. “So I need them reading outside of the classroom, and that is only going to happen if they have fun, interesting books to read.”

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