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January 22, 2022

Provo fourth grader uses lemonade stand funds to buy diverse books for school library

Fourth grader Emi Kim raised money through a lemonade stand to buy diverse books for her school’s library. (Jackson Grimm, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

PROVO — The Provo School District has new books in its libraries thanks to fourth grade student Emi Kim, who wanted to promote diversity and inclusion.

“I really want people to understand that we are different and we should appreciate that and also that they are not alone in this world,” Emi said.

Emi said she’d unfortunately been treated differently because of her background.

“I am Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Polynesian,” she said. “People are afraid of what they don’t know so I think that’s probably the reason we treat people bad on how they look.”

So when the 9-year-old thought about a way to combat racism, books came to mind.

“Books are a safe way to get to know people,” she said.

She set out to raise money through a lemonade stand to purchase about a dozen books with diverse stories for her school library. She was overwhelmed when she raised nearly $800.

I hope these books help people to realize that they are not alone and that people are different and we should accept that.

–Emi Kim

Christine Durst, the district’s library and media specialist, heard about Emi’s project and wanted to help expand it districtwide.

“I’m just in awe at her maturity, her wisdom and her desire to make a difference,” Durst said.

Durst said the district helped purchase the same books for all 13 of its elementary schools.

“Through a lot of research (Emi) had done, I’m like we need to have these books available in every elementary school,” Durst said. “Now all these books are off the shelves because the kids are just drawn to these displays that we’ve done with Emi’s books.”

Emi said she was excited that her mission to change the world is one step closer to being completed.

“There’s not one big simple solution that fixes everything,” she said “We need a lot of small solutions.”

She hopes as her peers learn about these characters, they in turn will be more open to those who may seem different from them.

“I hope these books help people to realize that they are not alone and that people are different and we should accept that,” she said.

Ashley Moser

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