6-year-old Abby Ross loves books more than the average girl. She also loves to help others. So when she saw a chance to combine both passions, she seized the opportunity.
This week, the amazing kid donated a whopping 7,000 books to the elementary school where her mom works as a teacher. With the help of family, friends, and her Kentucky community, 560 students from Semple Elementary School received a dozen new books each. She even had enough left over to give all of the Pre-K students books, too!
Abby created her incredible book drive last year, collecting about 2,200 books for the school. She wanted to aim a little higher this year with a goal of 2,500. She did not expect receiving over 4,500 more books than originally intended!
As you can expect, Abby’s parents are so proud of her selfless efforts. “She has such a great heart and we are so happy that she thinks of others so frequently and wants to help,” her mom Lauren tells Babble. “We want her and others to know that simple ideas can help change the world.”
Abby became inspired to help others when she was only 4-years-old. She was in her living room one day looking for a particular story to read, when she shared a thoughtful realization with her mom.
“[Abby] said ‘Wow, I have a lot of books!’ and I said ‘Yes, you do. Did you know that some of mommy’s students at school don’t have any or very many books to read at home?’” Lauren tells Babble. “She looked devastated and asked if she could give them some of hers. I said ‘Of course!’”
The idea grew into something much bigger, with Abby and her parents asking neighbors, co-workers, and just about anyone else if they had extra books to donate. When someone didn’t have a book to share, they donated money, which the Ross family used to buy books at yard sales and online.
For this year’s drive, Lauren also sought out various businesses and Abby’s school, Norton Elementary, for extra help. One business, Half Price Books, was so touched by Abby’s hard work that they helped donate about 2,000 books through their project Half Pint Library. They even threw in a free tote bag for each student to put their books in.
As the books were collected, Abby’s family kept them at their home — sorting them by grade level and ensuring that even the used books felt new to the students by removing any stickers. And as the number of books piled higher and higher, they began boxing them. When the delivery day arrived, Abby had quite a lot of boxes in her house!
image source: Lauren Ross
Over two dozen volunteers helped transport them to Semple Elementary, and they were distributed to students over the course of two days. The cutest part? Each kid received a “personal shopper” who volunteered to help them pick out books. “I knew each student’s approximate reading levels, and an adult worked with each student to pick out good books for them based on their level and interests,” Lauren relays to Babble.
And the response from the students has been nothing short of inspiring.
“They absolutely loved it! Lots of ‘thank you’s’ both verbally and written,” Lauren says. “The smiles on their faces were amazing! Many of the students just couldn’t believe that they got to keep them forever, and some even hugged their tote bags full of books.”
When asked what it was like to give the books away, Abby says she was happy. She also has big dreams for her next book drive. “My goal for next year is to get 10,000 books,” Abby tells Babble.
As for her favorite pastime, Lauren says that Abby has been reciting the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by heart since the age of 2. Now at the end of kindergarten, she is reading at a second-grade level. “She is the first one awake every morning and spends time reading in bed until everyone else wakes up,” Lauren shares.
Abby Ross is one rockin’ kid who can teach us all the importance of sharing our passions with the world, not to mention how meaningful reading books can truly be. We’re excited to see Abby reach her goal next year!