The joy of reading

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Rachel Faulkner writes, Have you ever received a brand-new book?

Have you ever received a brand-new book? No doubt you felt joy when you opened up that first, crisp page, or maybe even inhaled that wonderful new-book scent. But not all children get to feel that. In fact, says Kyle Baldwin, age 18 from Solano, California, about 61% of low-income children don’t own any books at all! “We were shocked by this statistic and wanted to make a difference.” Kyle and his brother Brady, age 16, decided to start their own charity, called “My Own Book”, which donates new books to under-privileged children.”We both love to read, and were fortunate enough to read as children,” says Kyle, “We believe reading is the basis for succeeding in life. Our mission is to spread the joy of reading.”Three years ago, the brothers began their mission by building bookshelves and gathering books for shelters and hospitals, but that turned out slightly disappointing. “After delivering the books to the shelter weeks passed without any acknowledgment from the children,” says Kyle. “We knew there had to be a better way. We visited local K-3rd grade classrooms to read and let the children pick out books of their very own.” The kids choose a book, donated by publishers or through grants, and they get to write their name on it so everyone knows it’s theirs.There are many low-income families in America, and the Baldwins were at first limited to their community. Now their charity is spreading like wildfire, wherever volunteers are able.The brothers seem to have a talent for smashing goals. Originally, they only wanted to pass out 750 books. Now, they’re reaching for 25,000. How would they describe their success? “It’s a good start,” says Kyle modestly, “but we’re working on expanding even more. We just need to find more volunteers.”If there’s something you love to do, the Baldwins urge you to share it with the world. “Don’t be afraid of rejection. Keep focused on your goal and don’t give up. Persistence is important. Decide to make a difference and brainstorm ways to make it happen. Giving back to others is a great way to learn more about your community and the world. Share something you love with others.”And with those wise words, we see proof that the world can be a better place, all because of books, hard work, and a little generosity.