CRESTVIEW — Northwood Arts and Science Academy’s library capped the school year by receiving its fifth grant since reopening in November 2013, and there are no plans to stop applying.
The newest award provides students with books about people from a variety of cultures and ethnicities.
Media and art integration specialist Kristal Petruzzi, the school’s librarian, applied for multiple grants during the year, ultimately being awarded more than $30,000 for books and art supplies.
“I think we were really blessed,” Petruzzi said. “I just applied for the grants because we really needed them to kick-start our program.”
The $2,000 Día: Diversity in Action mini-grant from the Association for Library Service to Children will be used to initiate a Día Family Book Club Program at Northwood.
Up to 15 mini-grants were awarded nationwide, funded by a Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant. Recipients had to demonstrate a need to address diverse backgrounds within their communities, according to Día’s website.
Almost 100 books Northwood received from the grant are all hardbacks “and almost every single one of them are award-winners” of prizes such as the Newbery Medal, Michael L. Printz Award and Coretta Scott King Book Award, Petruzzi said.
“They’re all multicultural books about children of all ethnocentricities and colors,” Petruzzi said. “I am so excited because our children will be able see themselves in print.”
Petruzzi said without receiving the new books and Día’s follow-up lists of recommended acquisitions, “we don’t always know the newest multi-cultural books.”
Though the name “Día” is Spanish, the Día Family Book Club Program “is multicultural, not just Spanish,” Petruzzi said.
Petruzzi said she intends to continue researching and applying for grants to supplement limited school district book and art supplies money.
“I think it’s wonderful that there are foundations that want to give to the arts and our library systems,” Petruzzi said. “It helps supplement our resources. We’re able to provide more for our children than we would be able to.”