Books have tremendous power. Between their pages, readers can be transported to anywhere imaginable and become just about anyone…or anything. Unfortunately, many children all over the world don’t have access to books! For several years now, Maria Keller, a 16-year-old girl from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been changing that fact.
When she was 8 years old, Maria already loved reading. She also noticed that some of her classmates didn’t read as much as she did.
When she asked her mother why that could be, her mother said that they might not be able to afford books. Maria had never thought of this. She could not believe that some children might not have bedtime stories read to them. She became determined to change this.
With her mother’s help, Maria created Read Indeed. Read Indeed is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and distributing books to children in need. During the early stages of Read Indeed, Maria set the goal to collect and distribute 1 million books by the time she was 18.
It didn’t take long to reach that goal! She reached her goal at age 13!
Today, at age 16, she has collected over 2.8 million books and has shipped them to many states and countries around the world.
She says, “I cannot live without books. As I continue my mission, I have learned that the number of kids who have no books are in the hundreds of millions. So I just can’t give up, even after reaching my original goal of 1 million books distributed.”
She recently set a new goal: to distribute donations to kids in need in every state in the United States, and every country in the world. She keeps track of her progress on a large map at the warehouse where they store and sort books. And now, as Maria prepares to attend college, her younger brother Ryan Keller is taking over Read Indeed.
Check out the inspiring video below about Maria thanks to CNN Heroes. See below to learn how you can take action to help kids in your community or around the world to become better readers!
Here is a more recent video of Maria that she prepared as part of her college application:
“Books can work wonders in people’s lives. They can enable someone to become educated and make a better life for themselves. They are empowering and powerful” -Maria Keller
- Here is a link to Maria’s Read Indeed Website where you can learn more about all she has done.
- Here is another IMK post about a girl who wants to bring books and reading to all kids!
Topics for Discussion:
- Why was Maria inspired to start Read Indeed?
- Do you enjoy reading? What are some of the reasons why you do or do not?
- What is something you are passionate about improving that could help others or the world?
- Think about the community you live in. Do you think there are kids in your community that could benefit from the Read Indeed foundation?
- Want to get involved? You can organize a book drive, hold a fundraiser or request books for your school. Visit the Read Indeed website to learn more.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.