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Good work with grant

Every youngster needs great stories with which to identify. A good book can teach imagination, resilience, empathy and many more important topics, not to mention academic skills like reading comprehension, sentence structure and grammar.

That’s why it’s so important that the Suffolk Public Library recently became one of 100 library systems nationwide chosen for the Great Stories Book club, and the library chose to partner with the Turlington Woods alternative school for the program.

The grant from the American Library Association serves to provide reading and discussion groups for underserved teens. Suffolk Public Library chose empathy as its theme and received copies of books for local teens to delve into.

Teen Services Senior Library Asa Heyward said empathy was chosen for the theme to “allow students to explore conflicts through a variety of perspectives.”

One group of students read a book about a teen diagnosed with cerebral palsy, who is very intelligent but cannot communicate that with his family. Another group wrote about two young boys, one black and one white, dealing with racism and police brutality in their community.

There could be no more important time in American history for young people to learn more about empathy. Placing oneself in another’s shoes and seeing things from their perspective is a skill far too lacking in our society.

Exploring issues of power and how marginalized people are treated in America is an excellent project for students at Turlington Woods, and the teachers there should be commended for embracing this project.

Suffolk Public Library does an excellent job identifying, pursuing and getting grants that will help better serve all of Suffolk’s citizens at no cost to them, and this is another great example. We appreciate all they’ve done to improve their services.