The concept behind ReadWheel started in 2016 when Alex and I were wading through mountains of offerings, only to encounter frustration at our local library in Vienna. There were many books, but diversity was missing.
Well, how do other families deal with their library’s abysmal options in diverse children’s books?
I had a book buying problem hence building a diverse home library for our family was simply feeding an addiction. It got so out of hand that we decided to start selling diverse children’s books to help other families build their own libraries whilst raising money to buy more books.
In 2017, we tried the market out selling black children’s books. The overwhelming enthusiasm made it clear. Other families faced similar challenges. Some were thrilled to purchase their first black children’s books from us and expressed a desire to take the entire selection home.
As we contemplated the challenge of making diverse books more accessible. I had a Eureka moment. Going through our 34 titles for sale at that time and observing which books families were drawn to. I noticed a theme in their remarks. Regardless of how many books they bought- ranging between three to seven books – they only wished to have access to all the books. They also expressed how expensive new books were. It wasn’t realistic for every family to build a massive diverse library at home.
Many lingered around and read as many books as they could on site. Our mission became clear. A diverse mobile library. ReadWheel became determined to make it easier for families to find great diverse books. It required no convincing to recruit Naa’s best friend Tjaša who just so happens to be a librarian. Another friend Ruqquya, a mother of three and a fellow diverse book lover lended her support. And that’s how our wheel started rolling.