Julius Anthony and the Believe project: A close look at his work in literacy- An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito
I first met Julius at one of our St. Louis Literacy Association meetings. At the time, he had just founded the St. Louis Black Authors organization. Everyone at that ILA meeting was impressed by what he and his group of children’s authors had already accomplished. The St. Louis Black Authors shared their books with us (there were many). They also shared their passion for bringing children of color culturally relevant books, books whose authors and protagonists looked like them. Over the next several years, Julius and his group became active in the St. Louis Literacy scene. Julius became the President of the St. Louis Literacy Association and is now the President-elect of the Missouri Literacy Association (an ILA affiliate). As you will learn in the interview, under his leadership, the St. Louis Literacy association sponsored several major speakers and provided in-service for Saint Louis area teachers. At the same time, he also created and expanded his Believe Project.
The Believe project is amazing. Julius and his organization have established reading rooms in local schools and community centers. Each site is stocked with one to two thousand culturally relevant books. Look at the pictures of some of the sites found a little later in this blog. They are inviting, and they have murals created by local black artists. Listen to Julius as he talks about the impact of the murals and the wonderful atmosphere created for these sites. He already has six sites and is about to open two more. Please listen to the interview to find out the full story of the Believe project.
Here is the YouTube podcast of the interview:
Here is the interview discussion. Topics are time stamped:
Here is a link to Julius’ website (donations to the Believe project are always welcome): LINK
HERE IS A PICTURE OF SOME OF THE BELIEVE SITES(additional pictures are available on the website):
Here is a picture of some students reading at one of the Believe sites. One of the project’s goals is to make the rooms inviting and welcoming.
For more information about the Missouri ILA & St. Louis Regional affiliates, please visit the MLA website. If you live in Missouri, remember that we always welcome new members. We are one of the fastest-growing ILA affiliates in the nation, and we would love to have you join in our continued efforts to promote literacy. Membership in MLA automatically gives you membership in one of our four local affiliates. We have lots of great things planned for next year. Here is the LINK.
Dr. Sam’s Upcoming Summer Blogs- In the next few weeks, I am continuing to arrange for additional interviews with authors of some of the many professional books that have been published lately. I’m planning to talk to Tim Rasinski, among others. I hope to carry out those interviews before the new school year begins. Also, near the end of summer, I hope to talk to you about my plans for my push-ins this fall at the school where I serve as a pro bono reading consultant in grades K-3. I’ll be teaching two full days a week, doing large group, small group, and individual sessions. I hope that talking about what I’ll be doing will allow readers to see how I adapt my instruction to the many ideas I’ve gotten from my lifelong search for common ground and common sense. In the meantime:
Happy Reading and Writing.
Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching
Copyright 2022 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.
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Dr. Sam, thanks for the very interesting and informative blog and interview with Julius Anthony; he is a gift to literacy and to St. Louis.