September 04


I Knew I Could Make a Difference in My Community by Sophie Happ

IMG_4296Last year, I held a book drive at my elementary school for kids in Piatt and Champaign County who don’t have books. I knew that I was only going into 5th grade, but I knew I could still make a difference in my community. I was inspired to do this book drive when I went to A Small Hand, a local organization that helps families, and I heard about all the kids without books. I talked to my mom and she helped me get it all sorted out. If you ever want to start a book drive, here’s what I did.


First, we emailed my principal to see if it was okay with her. After, we explained it all to her she agreed.


Next, we talked to A Small Hand and Cunningham’s Children Home. Together we worked out a plan for how we would get the books to them and who got which age group of books.


Then, I made a whole bunch of posters and I designed a flyer to send home with all the students.


After that, I talked to all the classes at Washington Elementary and explained about the book drive. I told them about why I had the idea to start the book drive, and I gave them information on how it would work. I also talked to them about what we needed and when it started and stopped.


Finally, I sorted all the books 3 times. The first time it was by series, the second time it was by age group, and the third time it was by where the books would be distributed to.

Last year, after I collected all the books and counted them, I had 4,001 books total. This year, I collected a total of 610 books.


We did it a bit differently this year. For example, we only did the book drive at Washington Elementary School. Another way we did it a bit differently was that we didn’t advertise it as much because we didn’t have much time.


I am very excited for next year. We have decided to make the book drive an annual thing. So far we have donated books to many different places – organizations, churches, and more.  Next year, I’m going to continue my annual book drive at our three local elementary schools.


IMG_4281This book drive has been a great experience for me. I have learned so much about people and their lives. I have also learned many ways that we can help people who are less fortunate than ourselves.


I am very excited to hand out more books next year. Last year, we still had extra books, so I got to hand some out to kids at our local celebration uptown. It was really fun to get to see kids smile as they got their new books. It has been a great experience so far and I’m looking forward to next year.


This book drive really opened my eyes to all the people who are less fortunate than myself. After that I really got into doing service projects. So far I have started a volunteer club. Together, we’ve made Christmas cards for the senior center, volunteered at an animal shelter, and raised money to help people after the big Nepal earthquake.


This book drive helped me pay forward my love of reading to others who don’t have easy access to books. I am very fortunate for many things. This book drive has given me a chance to help others who are less fortunate and I am very thankful for this opportunity I’ve had.


Sophie Happ is preparing to begin her first year as a middle school student in a tiny town in Central Illinois. In school, Sophie is passionate about reading, writing, and learning about the world around her. Out of school, Sophie enjoys softball and hanging out with her friends. If you’d like to read more from Sophie, you can check out her blog at