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$2 million statewide effort helps more children access books

Mom & daughter duo write book about embracing culture
Posted at 6:31 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 19:31:07-04

OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) - The state is working to get more books in the hands of children. Educare Omaha Indian Hill on W street is one place it's happening at. What's great about this program is that is is an opportunity for both readers and writers.

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"We have a lot of culture in El Salvador, but the Pupusa never goes out of style," says author Vanessa Jovel.

Vanessa Jovel moved to South Omaha in hope of a better life.

"It's possible, I know its challenging, but it's possible, step by step, we don't want things fast because it doesn't come out right, but step by step, slow, but more secure," she says.

She and her daughter Mariela wrote a book called "My Mom is a Chef," about the importance of embracing culture through the art of cooking.

Representatives from Educare Omaha Indian Hill and the initiative helped Vanessa's dream of writing a book come true; hoping to highlight parent voices in the community.

Laura Cady is a representative in the Nebraska Growing Readers initiative.

"These same books can be windows into other experiences, other cultures, other languages, and so for me for Mariela, I would love for her to look at this book and to see herself in it and to want to read it," says Cady.

The opportunity keeps Vanessa optimistic.

"I know little by little I'll keep moving forward," says Jovel.

And it's a moment to remember for Mariela.

Their book is one thousands the state is providing to students. In fact, it has allocated $2 million dollars to the Nebraska Growing Readers initiative.

Which means that more local authors have the opportunity to share their work with local families.

More than 30,000 kids will receive book through this program.

One program representative tells me they hope to continue to share neighbor's stories through this effort.