A book. One single book. How is it that one book can change a life? To a child who has nothing, a book, just one single story can be life changing. A book is escape. A book is freedom. A book is life.
I first realized how vital books are to my life when I was 2 years old. I was reading the classic, The Little Princess, with my mom (mommy at the time). I loved the ways it took me emotionally to places I’d never even begun to dream of. I found that books immersed me in a world – a world free of worries (not that I had many at the age of 2). I was enthralled by the power of the print, and how it could help those who have no escape from the world and its burdens.
Then later on, around kindergarten, I started to read the same books that I so thoroughly enjoyed a few years prior. It was at this time, when I was five, that I truly understood how life changing books could be to myself and my peers.
My goal when I started Books For Bedtime, two years ago, was to help as many children as possible, in as many places as possible to get as many books as possible. Today, I have donated 18,000 books to children and families all over the state of Ohio. I have distributed to schools, homeless shelters, food pantries, new immigrant organizations and library programs.
I often am asked what moment in time caused me to create Books For Bedtime, but it wasn’t just one particular moment that caused me to create it. I strongly believe that my whole life, every up and every down, is what truly prepared me and inspired me to create Books For Bedtime. If it weren’t for my mom having taught in low-income schools my whole life, I wouldn’t have been exposed to the “real word”. Like many of my friends and peers, I wouldn’t have seen hardships that life can bring: hardships not necessarily deserved, but given all the same.
When I first started going to schools, my only intention was to talk about Books For Bedtime and how and why I created it. As Books For Bedtime has grown and evolved, my speech has changed with it. While I still talk about how and why I started Books For Bedtime, I have added an element of motivation, suggesting that if I could start a non profit, they could too. I want to inspire my fellow students to help change their communities and the world.
Whenever I go to an educational setting, such as a school, I give a short speech about the magic of books, reading, and Books For Bedtime. The speech also features a Q+A session for the students. The students are always amazed by my willingness to go up and speak to them even though I’m only 13, and am so close to their ages.
I have been lucky enough to help those children who had no books at all, by giving them a book, or maybe even two. Because, if one book can change a child’s life, then what can two or three or four books do?
How can you help these children who are in need of books? It’s pretty simple. All you need to do is visit www.booksforbedtimenonprofit.org to find out more.
Meagan Warren is 13 years old and just finished seventh grade at Bexley Middle School in Bexley, Ohio. Meagan has been an avid reader since she first learned to read at age 2 and loves sharing her passion for reading with others. Meagan has won a Jefferson Award and a Prudential Spirit of Community Award for her work toward erasing illiteracy in Ohio.