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Mr. Cordes from New York NY is requesting Books through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

The Books And The Benjamins

My students need a classroom library of 70+ books, including "The Twilight Saga Collection", and books by Sister Souljah, Alice Walker, Julia Alvarez and James Baldwin.

  • $1,041 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Picture it: a school with over 500 students that did not have a library until this year.

Our new school library has many reference materials and encyclopedias, but is lacking in fiction and novels that appeal to our urban student population. Therefore, my freshmen students rely heavily on finding books to read for Independent Reading from our individual classroom library. Unfortunately, many of these books are well above their reading levels (e.g., "Pride and Prejudice", "Hamlet"). Also, most of these books do not appeal to the life experiences of a 14-year-old who prioritizes "street cred" over "book smarts." Many of my students have expressed an interest in reading books about well-known hip-hop artists such as Tupac Shakur, Rihanna, and Faith Evans. They have also wanted to read more books by Alice Walker (our classroom library only has "The Color Purple", which most of my more advanced students have already read). Every child deserves a library in which they can find books that appeal to both their interests and reading levels; however, this type of library remains only a distant, impossible dream for my students.

To promote interest in books and reading, I have started a classroom incentive contest called "The Books and the Benjamins". The terms of "The Books and the Benjamins" state that the student who reads the most books during a marking period will win a $100 gift card to a store of his/her choice. My students initially showed excitement about this incentive contest, only to feel discouraged and disheartened when they saw that most of the books in my dilapidated classroom library are British novels from the 1800s. In order to fully capture my students' interests in reading, I need books about Tupac Shakur, Faith Evans, Colin Powell, Michelle Obama, and Aaliyah. Also, I need books by authors from ethnically diverse backgrounds (e.g., Alice Walker, Julia Alvarez, Ernesto Quinonez, and James Baldwin). These books will help my more advanced students to see that authorship is not only the province of one or two privileged ethnic groups. Currently, many of my students see the books in our classroom to be far removed from their heritages, cultures, and communities. We need books in which they can see their own lives and cultures reflected and portrayed.

A new classroom library will empower my students to find enjoyment, knowledge, and liberation in the act of reading. Your help will make it possible for my students to see that books are treasured reservoirs of knowledge, not just cumbersome requisites of compulsory public education. Also, with your assistance, my students will have access to ethnically diverse novels that they will most likely encounter in college (e.g., James Baldwin's "If Beale Street Could Talk" and Julia Alvarez's "How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents"). Most importantly, these books -- especially those by Alvarez and Baldwin -- will prepare my more advanced readers for college-level courses. Please help my students conceive and achieve their dreams of finding success in college by giving them access to books in which they can see a full reflection of their diverse identities, cultures, and communities.

Mr. Cordes
Grades 9-12
Nearly all students from low‑income households

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6 donors6 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 58 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Short Stories Alice Walker • Barnes and Noble $11.70 1 $11.70
The Fight (Drama High Series #1) L. Divine • Barnes and Noble $7.96 1 $7.96
Another Country James Baldwin • Barnes and Noble $12.00 1 $12.00
Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir Stanley Tookie Williams, Epilogue by Barbara Becnel, Foreword by Tavis Smiley • Barnes and Noble $12.80 1 $12.80
Michelle Obama David Colbert • Barnes and Noble $6.29 1 $6.29
Michael Jackson: The One and Only: A Commemorative Tribute to an American Icon Triumph Books • Barnes and Noble $11.96 1 $11.96
Colin Powell Reggie Finlayson • Barnes and Noble $7.15 1 $7.15
The Hollow Jessica Verday • Barnes and Noble $12.95 1 $12.95
Going Too Far Jennifer Echols • Barnes and Noble $7.92 1 $7.92
Leaving Paradise Simone Elkeles • Barnes and Noble $7.16 1 $7.16
Charmed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Pretty Committee (Clique Series) Lisi Harrison • Barnes and Noble $9.35 1 $9.35
Would You Marthe Jocelyn • Barnes and Noble $14.39 1 $14.39
Rucker Park Setup Paul Volponi • Barnes and Noble $6.29 1 $6.29
Response Paul Volponi • Barnes and Noble $12.79 1 $12.79
Hurricane Song Paul Volponi • Barnes and Noble $6.29 1 $6.29
Chanda's Wars Allan Stratton • Barnes and Noble $7.19 1 $7.19
Chanda's Wars Allan Stratton, Romeo Dallaire, Romeo Dallaire (Afterword) • Barnes and Noble $16.19 1 $16.19
With Their Eyes: September 11th -- The View from a High School at Ground Zero Annie Thoms, Taresh Batra (Editor), Created by Taresh Batra, Created by Anna Belc • Barnes and Noble $7.19 1 $7.19
Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA Julia Alvarez • Barnes and Noble $13.50 1 $13.50
Down These Mean Streets Piri Thomas • Barnes and Noble $10.36 1 $10.36
Uptown Dreams Karen E. Quinones Miller • Barnes and Noble $15.25 1 $15.25
Harlem Godfather: The Rap on my Husband, Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson Mayme Johnson, Miller Karen E. Quinones • Barnes and Noble $12.00 1 $12.00
Hidden Evidence: Forty True Crimes And How Forensic Science Helped To Solve Them David Owen, Thomas T. Noguchi, Kathy Reichs, Foreword by Kathy Reichs, Preface by Thomas T. Noguchi • Barnes and Noble $22.45 1 $22.45
Durango Street Frank Bonham • Barnes and Noble $5.39 1 $5.39
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood Benjamin Alire Saenz • Barnes and Noble $17.95 1 $17.95
Drift Manuel Luis Martinez • Barnes and Noble $13.50 1 $13.50
If Beale Street Could Talk James Baldwin • Barnes and Noble $12.55 1 $12.55
Rihanna: Good Girl Gone Bad Rihanna • Barnes and Noble $15.25 1 $15.25
Genesis, Vol. 1 Created by Mark Davis, Created by Mike Davis • Barnes and Noble $11.65 1 $11.65
Born Blue Han Nolan • Barnes and Noble $6.25 1 $6.25
No Disrespect Sister Souljah, Souljah • Barnes and Noble $11.96 1 $11.96
Shayla's Double Brown Baby Blues Lori Aurelia Williams, Samantha Schutz (Illustrator), Samantha Schutz • Barnes and Noble $11.69 1 $11.69
Every Time a Rainbow Dies Rita Williams-Garcia • Barnes and Noble $8.09 1 $8.09
Like Sisters on the Homefront Rita Williams-Garcia • Barnes and Noble $5.39 1 $5.39
Go Ask Alice Anonymous • Barnes and Noble $7.99 1 $7.99
In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women Alice Walker • Barnes and Noble $11.70 1 $11.70
Flyy Girl Omar Tyree • Barnes and Noble $7.19 1 $7.19
Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur Michael Eric Dyson • Barnes and Noble $13.50 1 $13.50
How Long Will They Mourn Me?: The Life and Legacy of Tupac Shakur C. C. Wyndham, Dawn Marie Daniels • Barnes and Noble $6.29 1 $6.29
Men Cry in the Dark Michael Baisden, Albert Chacon (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble $12.55 1 $12.55
Midnight: A Gangster Love Story Sister Souljah • Barnes and Noble $12.80 1 $12.80
Before We Were Free Julia Alvarez • Barnes and Noble $5.59 1 $5.59
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents Julia Alvarez • Barnes and Noble $12.00 1 $12.00
Chango's Fire Ernesto Quinonez • Barnes and Noble $4.98 1 $4.98
Keep The Faith: A Memoir Faith Evans, With Aliya S. King • Barnes and Noble $19.99 1 $19.99
It's No Secret: From Nas to Jay-Z, from Seduction to Scandal--a Hip-Hop Helen of Troy Tells All Carmen Bryan • Barnes and Noble $11.20 1 $11.20
Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx Ivan Sanchez • Barnes and Noble $12.60 1 $12.60
Bodega Dreams: A Novel Ernesto Quinonez, Ernesto Quiinonez • Barnes and Noble $11.20 1 $11.20
The Awakening (Vampire Diaries Series #1) L. J. Smith • Barnes and Noble $6.29 1 $6.29
A Child Called It Dave Pelzer • Barnes and Noble $9.56 1 $9.56
Push Sapphire • Barnes and Noble $16.86 1 $16.86
Staying Pure (Payton Skky Series #1) Moore, Stephanie Perry-Moore • Barnes and Noble $7.19 1 $7.19
Problem Solved (Perry Skky Jr. Series #3) Stephanie Perry Moore • Barnes and Noble $8.95 1 $8.95
Story of a Girl Sara Zarr • Barnes and Noble $7.19 1 $7.19
Kiss Me Kill Me (Kisses and Lies Series #1) Lauren Henderson • Barnes and Noble $7.19 1 $7.19
Bling Addiction (Fast Girls, Hot Boys Series #2) Kylie Adams • Barnes and Noble $8.95 1 $8.95
And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner-City High School Students Miles Corwin • Barnes and Noble $11.20 1 $11.20
The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with Their Fathers Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt • Barnes and Noble $12.00 1 $12.00
The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Lisa Frazier Page, Rameck Hunt • Barnes and Noble $7.20 1 $7.20
First Semester (Kimani Tru Series) Cecil B. Cross II • Barnes and Noble $8.99 1 $8.99
Lesson Learned (Kimani Tru Series) Earl Sewell • Barnes and Noble $7.99 1 $7.99
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez Richard Rodriguez • Barnes and Noble $12.00 1 $12.00
Black Will Shoot Jesse Washington • Barnes and Noble $12.60 1 $12.60
Hot Girl Dream Jordan • Barnes and Noble $7.96 1 $7.96
Hotlanta Denene Millner, Mitzi Miller • Barnes and Noble $8.09 1 $8.09
Veronique (The Divas Series) Victoria Christopher Murray • Barnes and Noble $7.99 1 $7.99
Diamond (The Divas Series) Victoria Christopher Murray • Barnes and Noble $7.96 1 $7.96
Aaliyah: More Than a Woman Christopher John Farley • Barnes and Noble $6.29 1 $6.29
Twilight Saga Collection Stephenie Meyer • Barnes and Noble $53.95 1 $53.95

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Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


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How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


5 Donors


Donations toward project cost


Donations to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


match offer


Match offer toward project cost


Match offer to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


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Project Activity

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