BELLEVILLE, ILL. - At the beginning of each class, there isn't much to say. Meghan Tippy-King's sixth grade students already know what to do. They pick a comfortable spot in the room and read.
"And for homework, if we don't have homework, our homework is to read for 20 minutes," student Brooklynne Brown said.
Tippy-King has an impressive collection of books at Whiteside Middle School. She paid for most of them herself.
"Some of them are even some of the books I read when I was a kid," Tippy-King said.
Her classroom library is what makes her this year's recipient of the Barack Obama Library Award.
"I didn't expect to win it because it's for the entire state of Illinois," Tippy-King said.
Tippy-King was also selected because of her school-wide Read-a-Thon events.
"Basically, the kids get to stay after school and they bring pillows and blankets and we line the halls and they read their books," she said.
As the award winner, she gets $1,000 worth of brand new books for her classroom library – all of which are culturally relevant to African-American readers.
"There's not a lot of diversity in children's literature and it's getting better, but it's not really where it should be so these are all books that are going to address that and be relevant to different kids in my class," she said.
The Red Pencil, Bud, Not Buddy, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry are just some of the books students of all backgrounds in class can now access easily.
"I know that a lot of people in our class are very excited for them and they're excited to read them and they're so proud of Ms. King because she's like the best teacher ever," Brown said.