Harrison Fream, an Eagle Scout from Scarborough, talks with Book Fairy Pantry Project founder Pamela Leo about a Little Free Library they started at Kennedy Park in Portland Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — An Eagle Scout who wants children in Kennedy Park to have access to relatable multicultural books has partnered with a Portland-based organization to do just that.

Harrrison Fream poses next to a Little Free Library he constructed as part of his Eagle Scout project. Fream, a member of Troop 39 in Scarborough, is also constructing a library at Riverton Park. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Baxter Academy senior Harrison Fream of Scarborough was looking for an idea for his Eagle Scout project when he heard of the Book Fairy Pantry Project, which provides books to children, especially those in low income neighborhoods.

He teamed up with Book Fairy Pantry founder Pamela Leo to create the Little Free Library for Kennedy Park in East Bayside.

Through the Little Free Library movement, which got its start in 2009 in Wisconsin, there are now Little Free Libraries across the country, including more than 20 in Portland.

Fream’s goal is to make sure his library offers books free for taking that reflect the cultural diversity of the Kennedy Park neighborhood.

“I can imagine reading books that don’t reflect who you are is difficult,” he said. “Putting books in there that are multicultural and represent a part of literature you don’t often see is important.”

He realized the importance of literature at a young age, he said, by visiting the classroom of his mother Karen Fream, a literacy coach at East End Community School.

“Having books in the classroom and at home is so important,” he said.

He designed the Kennedy Park Little Free Library, located by the Boyd Street Gardens across the street from the Community Policing Center, and organized a team of volunteers to help construct it.

The Book Fairy Pantry project will keep the library stocked.

Leo said Fream’s Eagle Scout project is a perfect extension to her initiative, which she started last May to provide books to families at Kennedy Park and Riverton Park, two of the lower income areas of the city.

Two-thirds of the 15.5 million children living in poverty nationwide don’t own a book, she said.

“There is dignity to having your own books at home,” Leo said. “When I drop off the libraries, that home becomes a different home that night because of the books that live there now.”

Fream has applied to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with the dream of one day being a naval architect.

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