Adopt a Book
There is something so uplifting about seeing the beautiful heart of a little child who already at a very young age knows and appreciates what it means to be kind to others. And behind that child is very likely adult role models from whom those values have been instilled.
Just recently they delivered filled boxes to Adopt a Book, a local nonprofit organization run by two teens and their mother, to be given to other young people without the means to buy their own books. It was an incredible gift; but what makes it even more so is the story behind that delivery.
It all began when plans were underway for Eva’s third birthday party. Kristin and Tim came up with the idea of asking guests to each bring a book or two toward the collection. It seemed like a perfect age and a perfect opportunity to be teaching their daughter a lesson in giving back.
Eva and her mom made a banner to hang above the donation spot, and thank you notes for their friends who pitched in. “Our hope was to collect 50 books or so. Given that we only had about a dozen families coming, we thought that was an ambitious but still reasonable goal to achieve,” Kristin told me. “We were blown away by their generosity. We collected nearly 230 books!”
And that wasn’t all. Eva and her mom spent an afternoon painting lots of pieces of card stock, transforming them with brilliant hues into bookmarks that would become part of their donation. “Eva picked her colors carefully and told everyone she talked to for the next week about how she got to make bookmarks for kids who don’t have books,” Kristin said.
Below is more of my conversation with Kristin.
Lisa: What are some of Eva’s qualities that you would like to share with us?
Kristin: Eva is an amazing littler person! She can be shy and slow to warm-up to people, but once you’ve made it into her inner circle, she will do whatever she can to let you know how special you are. She is very smart and stubborn. It amazes me how well she already knows her own mind at only three years old. There are so many things I could tell you about her, but it’s her kind and loving heart that I love most!
Lisa: Explain how this whole idea came about?
Kristin: My husband and I have always hoped to instill a sense of community and a spirit of giving in any children we have. We’ve both always made it a priority in our own lives to give back and serve our community when we can, and have both had wonderful examples of that in our own parents. Eva is at an age where she’s really excited about being “a big helper”. As she develops her own individuality, she is learning to be more independent. That newly discovered independence combined with her big heart make her incredibly eager to help others in whatever small ways she can.
As we are seeing this side of her personality develop, we thought she might be at a good age to show her ways we can be involved in our community and help others, so we decided to invite guests to her birthday party to bring a donation of some sort instead of gifts. We wanted to pick an organization we felt represented Eva’s interests, and something she could be excited about. Since she loves books and reading so much, we started looking for organizations that serve children and somehow foster learning, literacy, and a love of reading.
Lisa: Does Eva understand why she did it?
Kristin: We decided on Adopt a Book a couple months before the party, which gave us lots of time to talk about it and help her understand what we were trying to do. Because she has such a giving spirit, she understood pretty quickly and was excited about the idea of it. When we went shopping for books to donate, she helped pick most of them out. She tried to pick books and characters she knows her friends like because she thought other kids might like them too. When the party came, I heard her telling several people that we were going to take all of the books to kids who don’t have books of their own, which was pretty cool.
Lisa: As a parent, I bet you are very proud of her.
Kristin: Leading up to her party and after we collected all of the books, I was just so amazed by how much Eva understood our goal and how excited she was by it! I really wasn’t sure she would get it, and figured that this year it was more my husband’s and my project, and maybe next year she could be more involved. Boy was I wrong! From choosing the books we donated, to explaining our goal, to making the bookmarks…she was involved every step of the way!
The moment that really got me was after her party. We were opening the handful of gifts she’d gotten, and a few people had gotten her books in addition to the books they donated. As we’re sitting there looking at the books, she picked up a couple of them and took them to table of donated books. When we told her she could keep those books, she said “I know. I have lots of books. Kids who don’t have books can have these.” And they were pretty cool books!
For her to decide, completely on her own, to give away birthday presents she liked and would enjoy simply because she thought other kids needed them more was really amazing to me. It’s a side of her I know we will get to see a lot more of, and I think we have a new birthday tradition!
Last night, I asked Kristin to talk with her daughter about the meaning of their actions. She shared with me how it went.
Eva explained that the reason they collected books was, “because I like reading books and I want them (other kids) to like reading books too.”
The rest of Eva and her mom’s conversation went like this:
Kristin: “Was it nice of us to get the books for kids who don’t have them?”
Eva: “Uh huh!”
Kristin: “And why do we want to do nice things for people?”
Eva: “Because it makes them happy.”
Kristin: “Any other reasons?”
Eva: “Because when we’re nice to people, they get happy and feel good, which makes me feel happy too!”
Such a powerful lesson from an amazing little girl!
Way to go Alex and Hannah Laman, now 13, who began (with their mom, Angela) their own Cincinnati area non-profit, Adopt A Book five years ago! They have collected and donated nearly 110,000 books for over 100 organizations that serve other kids in need throughout Ohio and Northern Kentucky. And the Loveland twins were just named a 2016 honoree by the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, a national award program that celebrates 25 young people who are inspiring others through their impact! You can read my first post about the Laman’s here.
Way to go Hannah Laman! The Loveland 12 year old was selected from more than 32,000 nominees across the country as one of 10 national Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program winners! For the award, Hannah receives a $10,000 scholarship for higher education; and Kohl’s is donating $1,000 to the nonprofit of her choice. (I bet that nonprofit is Adopt A Book!)
Hannah and her twin brother, Alex, (with help from their parents) founded Adopt a Book that collects and distributes new and gently used children’s book to those who can’t afford them. To date, Adopt a Book has donated 60,000 books to more than 50 organizations, schools and hospitals that serve children in need.
“The most rewarding part of sharing books with others is that other kids have the opportunity to read and own a book of their own,” Hannah told Amazing Kids! Magazine.
Link to a past post about Adopt A Book. #CINspiration
They at it again…spending their summer finding awesome literature that they can give to organizations for other kids who don’t own books of their own. This time they are partnering with Cincinnati area Eddie Bauer stores (in Kenwood, Rookwood and Crestview Hills, Kentucky).
By the way, if you are not familiar with them, the Laman’s have a Cincinnati area nonprofit called Adopt a Book, and through it they have collected and donated thousands of books so that others can learn about the fun in reading too. I wrote about them in an earlier post. Here is a link to that story.
If you stop by a local Eddie Bauer store before August 18, please be sure to bring a new or gently used children’s book. Donors will receive a 50% off coupon on one regular priced item. Limit one per customer per day. Excludes First Ascent and branded items. Please visit store for additional details.
It’s no wonder Loveland Elementary School 3rd graders Alex and Hannah Laman love to read…and want others to experience that same joy. Brent and Angela Laman have always read to their children, in fact, ever since Alex and Hannah were babies.
So, when news came out that a lack of funding was going to cause some local school kids to not have access to books, the twins wanted to do something. With support from their parents, they had a nonprofit called ‘Adopt a Book’ up and running in no time.
What a great way to instill a love for giving…by encouraging children to find a way of passing along to others something that gives them so much joy.
Alex and Hannah (and Brent and Angela) have been busy reaching out to their classmates and other community groups. Their house has become a warehouse of sorts with stacks of stories – from Harry Potter to Dr. Seuss. Over 2,800 books have been donated to Adopt a Book so far; and Adopt a Book has in turn distributed 1,300 books to children through area organizations.
If you have children’s books that you would like to donate, please contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also drop books off at Beech Acres Parenting Center in Anderson (where Brent facilitates some groups) – 6881 Beechmont Ave; 45230.