The Black Book Exchange Box℠ is on a mission to make it easier to discover, read, and share books that thoughtfully represent Black people and culture.
TBBEB was established in 2019 as a City of Grand Rapids Neighborhood Match Fund Project by which its first book houses were built and installed.
In 2020, it formed as a non-profit organization to expand its book exchange system and bring long-term literacy and reading initiatives to the local community and beyond.
- TBBEB was nominated for a 2020 Grand Rapids Area Black Business “GRABB Award” and was honored with its NC Mutual Life Insurance Collaboration Award for exemplifying collaboration and fostering innovative relationships and practices over and above standard and traditional ones—as well as alliances that achieved exceptional results!
- During the City of Grand Rapids’ 2020 State of the City Address, Mayor Roslyn Bliss acknowledged TBBEB as a “powerful example” of creating beautiful community spaces.
Food for Thought
Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, but not as a serious and rigorous art form
- Toni Morrison
Grand Rapids Neighborhoods
Future Book Houses
Aarie J. Wade
Aarie Wade, MSW is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Black Book Exchange Box. She is an early childhood leader and describes herself as an unapologetic advocate for social justice who works to disrupt systems created to oppress Black people.
Zsanara Hoskins brings 20 years experience in education and human services to The Black Book Exchange Box. She is passionate about helping others discover their gifts and believes that education extends far beyond the classroom. As Chief Operating Officer of TBBEB, she advocates for equity and representation for people of color and works to change systems by removing barriers so that all have the opportunity to achieve greatness.
Kendra R. McNeil
Kendra McNeil is the founder of the multicultural bookshop and literary platform, We Are LIT. She is the Chief Book Nerd Officer of The Black Book Exchange Box and serves as a project lead for the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Match Fund project in support of TBBEB. Her work centers around creating a culture and a lifestyle around literature in the local community and beyond. McNeil is an avid traveler and lover of books.
Zsana Hoskins is a journalism major at Howard University and an emerging entrepreneur! She is the social media and website manager at The Black Book Exchange Box. In her role with the organization, she helps share its mission with the world by creating and managing engaging content across TBBEB’s website and its social channels.
Mariel Harmon is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Davenport University. Mariel has over 7 years of accounting experience, serving with nonprofit organizations in various capacities. He is currently the Controller for LINC Up Nonprofit Housing Corporation. Mariel is passionate about uplifting the very community that he was born and raised in. His goal is to become a Certified Management Accountant and to provide financial services for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Mariel enjoys spending quality time with his wife and three children. He also enjoys traveling and being active in the community. One of Mariel’s favorite quotes is “Knowledge eliminates fear.”