We are Kyra and Phallon Pierce, 9th-grade identical twins and known as “The Pierce Twins.” We are honor students, creative artists, and athletes who also love to read.
We were featured on the news after discovering a book on our 8th grade summer reading list entitled “And Then There Were None”, by Agatha Christie, was originally named “Ten Little N*****s”. The book was later changed to its current name. We noticed this immediately upon researching the book. In addition to the original title, we learned there was a racist nursery rhyme that was a significant plot point. This did not sit well with us and sparked a need to remove racially insensitive books from our school’s summer reading lists.
This issue has inspired us to do more as we see the lack of diversity, specifically African-American authors on summer reading lists, elementary school literature courses, and school libraries. We created an age-appropriate diverse book list for young readers, and we want to take our mission to help a broader audience. Students of all races should be exposed to various authors and experiences to help them learn and connect to others. Books that promote positive self-esteem, anti-racist, anti-bullying, social justice themes, and contributions of African Americans along with other people of color, should be shared and embraced. This will also help kids to be more tolerant, inclusive, accepting, and appreciative of others. We believe this exposure will help young readers today be stronger leaders now and in the future.