We Need Diverse Books has announced the five winners of the inaugural round of the Books Save Lives Grant. These five schools, each located in states affected by book bans, will receive up to $5,000 in diverse titles for students and libraries.

Grantees can choose from a list of nearly 500 titles, including: Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, Omar Rising by Aisha Saeed, Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir, and Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas.

The Books Save Lives grant hopes to "circumvent the arduous review process" that restricts which books make it into classrooms and school libraries, per a statement from WNDB, and to "supply diverse titles specifically requested by winning educators" from the list.

Book challenges nearly doubled in 2022, according to the American Library Association, reaching the highest number recorded in the more than 20 years that the ALA has been compiling data about censorship in libraries. The vast majority of challenged titles are by or about members of the LGBTQ community or people of color.

Grants will be awarded to:

  • Clay County Schools in Clay County, Florida
  • Emerald Cove Middle School in Wellington, Florida
  • Palm Beach School District in Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas
  • Brandywine Middle and High School in Niles, Michigan