For 11-year old twins Hannah and Alex Laman
, reading books is a shared passion.
“It gives you a chance to visualize everything in your head—like movies—you just see it when you read,” Hannah says. “I go to the bookstore a lot—and I just can’t imagine not reading or having books to read.”
So in 2011, when Hannah and Alex’s parents shared a newspaper article about students at Quebec Heights Elementary School
who were without books, the seed for Adopt A Book
“We wanted to be able to help them, because it didn’t seem like any other people were, and we felt like we needed to,” Hannah says.
So Hannah and Alex collected their first book donation to deliver to the school. But their efforts to help others didn’t stop there.
“They really wanted it to be an organization they could be responsible for, and [through which they could] provide even more,” says Angela Laman, Hannah and Alex’s mother.
So they formed the nonprofit Adopt A Book, and since November of 2011, they’ve delivered more than 37,000 books to students who are at-risk or in need.
The nonprofit operates out of the Laman residence, and Angela and her husband take Hannah and Alex on book runs, where they deliver about 800 books at a time.
“My husband and I both work full-time, so we have other commitments, and they have other things going on with their sports and extracurriculars, and we never thought, ‘OK, let’s carve out 10-20 more hours a week toward this venture, which wasn’t something we ever expected,” Laman says. “But we’ve just supported their efforts, and we’re glad that we did. It’s been an eye opening experience for all of us.”
Laman says the twins don’t truly understand why there’s such a need and that it’s disheartening that the need is so high (they’ve delivered books to 47 different places
), but it’s important to her children to continue collecting books and taking them to children who are less privileged than themselves.
“It’s so important that people donate books
, because if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have any books,” Alex says. “And we need books to donate because they help kids learn to say more words—they know more, they can learn in books.”
Adopt A Book by helping the Lamans purchase a laptop or tablet for their work.
Adopt A Book by donating new or used books, in addition to things like office supplies and gas cards to help with deliveries.
• Like Adopt A Book on Facebook
, and contact the Lamans if you would like to volunteer with deliveries or offer space as a book collection/storage site.
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.