A Hamilton County elementary school describes its population as "beautifully diverse" and wants to celebrate that diversity with a book for every student. They're holding a book drive, called Just Like Me. 

DuPont Elementary teacher Brenda Morris describes herself as a lifelong lover of literature. She encourages her students to read as many books as possible, just as she did when she was their age.  And just like them, she always looked for characters with whom she could identify.

She said, "Because of my background, I couldn't find anyone in a book who looked like me, a young African-American girl. And after becoming a teacher, I saw other children with various backgrounds, so I wanted them to have books to match themselves and their life experiences."

Her once-personal book drive has gone school-wide.  It's called Just Like Me. Every classroom teacher has scoured bookstores and websites to find just the right book for each of their students, reflecting their ethnicity and personalities.

The school is collecting donations to raise money to buy students the brand new books and has gotten great response from the community.  DuPont principal Ruthie Panni is amazed, but not surprised by the extra hours and days her teachers are putting into this project. "That's DuPont," she said. "No matter the project, these teachers put the time in to get it done. That's one of the reasons I'm proud to be a part of this school."

Just before Christmas, DuPont will hold a school-wide assembly to surprise students with the books that have selected just for them. Teachers hope it will spark a new love for reading and encourage students to love themselves. Ms. Morris said, "They may see the characters who are like them, and this will show them the possibilities of what they can do with their future."

If you would like to help the school reach its goal for the Just Like Me Book Drive, you may visit DuPont Elementary School at 4134 Hixson Pike in Chattanooga (37415), or email the principal at panni_r@hcde.org.