What is Benny's Books
Benny's Books is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to cultivating literacy among Latino children and children from low income families generally. Benny's Books distributes free books to children, teachers, schools and organizations in hopes of promoting cultural and ethnic diversity, facilitating social change, and inspiring youth to pursue higher education.
1. To promote literacy through picturesque children's books by creating characters of Hispanic characters in real life situations, rather than stereotypical roles since studies have shown that media distortions negatively impact the self-esteem of children from achieving their academic potential;
2. To encourage fundraising and distribution of age-appropriate literature to target communities at no charge;
3. To recruit nonpartisan and unbiased educational resources that foster social action and educational opportunities set forth in these communities;
4. To combat the lack of cultural diversity in the fine arts by providing resources for Latino artists to get their artwork recognized;
5. To promote and encourage the education of target youth and adults through leadership initiatives, cultural exposure, and the distribution of literature;
6. To foster the fluent use of the English language, but at the same time, exerting equal effort to foster the fluent mastery of the Spanish language which is part of the heritage and means of extending the cultural horizons of our nation;
7. To oppose any radical and violent demonstrations that desecrate the symbols of our nation, threaten the physical and spiritual welfare of individuals or institutions, and give a negative distortion of Hispanic Heritage;
8. To make use of every medium of communication at our disposal and to exert our combined efforts to promulgate and propagate these principles and augment its influence and numerical growth;
9. To uphold the core values of transparency, professionalism, and excitement;
10. And to provide a healthy learning environment for all.
In addition, Benny's Books publishes books that promote and cater to diversity. For every book sold (paperback or hardcopy), a book will be given out for free.
If children’s literature were to use picturesque images of Hispanic characters in real life situations, rather than stereotypical roles such the hot-blooded sexy characters, macho men, gang-members, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants, then perhaps children may not have the false dichotomy of what it means to be Latino. Promoting these stereotypes creates a stigma that signifies that that person "is not quite human."Further, enforcing these stereotypes as the norms carries a deeply negative reaction. Research suggest that media distortions negatively impact self-esteem of African-American children from achieving their academic potential in American society. By creating picturesque literature for children that promotes Hispanic characters doing non-stigmatic things, the paradigm of the perception of human rights, and the way children view the law, would shift toward an equilibrium that facilitates and promotes participation.
Ideally, the practicality of picturesque books with minority-driven protagonists should not be exclusively for Latino children. All children should be exposed to different cultures in literature as some authors have suggested that children stories offer a way to imagine other worlds and differing “suppositions.” To children, “the real and the imaginary are not always distinct categories, but rather closer points on a continuum; children easily pass back and forth between real and pretend, factual and fictional.” By exposing all children to these imaginary tales, it enables children to get immersed in alternative realities and emerge as slightly different people. Thus by creating applicable children’s books that enable a different culture could serve as a catalyst to “operate as the origins for social rituals, ideological creeds, and legal principles about justice, legal autonomy, punishment, and rights” among all.