An East Dallas couple is joining the national effort to circulate inclusive reading materials to promote conversations about diversity.

Dallas trial attorneys Mackenzie Salenger of Thompson Coburn and Mia Falzarano of Alston & Bird established a “quest for diversity” library at the end of their driveway in Stonewall Terrace near the M Streets.

They started the project during Pride Month in June after a neighbor received complaints for displaying a pride flag outside his home. To show solidarity, the couple bought 50 pride flags on Amazon and placed them in the driveway. They invited neighbors to take one and display it outside their homes and businesses. All the flags were claimed in two days.

“The narrative shifted in our neighborhood from this complaint,” Salenger said. “It made me feel really sad that someone would feel offended. A couple weeks later, we have pride flags all over the neighborhood.”

The flags were so well received, the pair got a bin out of the garage and stocked it with diverse reading materials. They bought books from Amazon and Pride and Less Prejudice, a nonprofit that aims to provide free age-appropriate LGBTQ books to classrooms.

“That was our jumping off place,” Falzarano said. “From there, we looked for books we wanted to read and wanted to see ourselves represented in. We have a couple families with little free libraries, and I’ve noticed diverse books popping up in those libraries. It’s cool to see this trend in our neighborhood.”

Their library became a popular resource for families, with many coming and reading the books under a tree in their lawn. Families have thanked Salenger and Falzarano, saying their children love seeing all the different types of people.

“There isn’t anything we can do unless we’re talking,” Salenger said. “If people aren’t comfortable engaging in those conversations right now, at least they’re reading these resources in their home. It felt like such an amazing way to bring the community together. We all have the opportunity to do good, and we need to take advantage of that when it arises.”

Recommended reading

Children’s books:

  • Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall
  • Who’s in my Family? All About Our Families – Robie H. Harris
  • Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • A Family is a Family is a Family – Sara O’Leary

Young adult books:

  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Adult books:

  • How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption – Bryan Stevenson

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