One million books and you

By Jessica Connor

I'm a bookworm. I started reading when I was a precocious 2-year-old, and today I count books among my most prized possessions. When I'm not reading, I'm writing. Books take me to other places, other ages and sometimes other planets. They were my escape as a child, my ticket to a bright and limitless future.

As a kid, I was teased relentlessly because I used to walk the hallways at school with my nose in a book. I was shy. Books were my best friends. The little allowance I got was spent on—you guessed it—more books. My mom used to read to me for hours and hours. I d pile a massive stack of Little Golden Books upon the bed at night and implore, Mommy, read. Read. She was tired, I know, but Mom always complied.

All of that—that time she spent with me, the hundreds of books she purchased for me, the well-used library card she got for me, the well-stocked library in my public elementary school in Miami, Fla.—laid the groundwork for the woman I am today: an avid reader and writer who is compelled to make a difference in the world through the written word.

And it started with one book, an adult who took the time and a school that reinforced it all.

One book can change a life. Truly.

The S.C. Conference of The United Methodist Church has the opportunity to do just that for countless children in our state thanks to the beautiful, God-sized vision in the Million Book Effort.

I urge you to read the story on Page One and allow your heart to open to the amazing possibilities in this conference-wide endeavor. One million brand-new preschool- or elementary-level books for children in need. Can you imagine the excitement?

Many of these kids have never owned a new book. Many of them go to schools with poorly stocked libraries; they have to squint to read the blurred lines because the pages are stained or dog-eared from decades of use.

Can you imagine what it will mean to them to have a brand-new book of their very own? Can you imagine a little girl, clutching that book to her chest, reading and re-reading it until every line is seared on her brain?

I can.

By providing kids with new books, we re sending a powerful message: we value you. We respect your mind. We know you have a future. You re worth the investment.

The Advocate urges every United Methodist in South Carolina ”lay and clergy ”to do your part to make this happen. Buy some new books for kids. Encourage fellow church members to do the same. Approach local businesses and ask them to donate books.

A book could very well be some child s ticket to a brighter tomorrow. And at least for today, it s a bright spot in an often-dismal world.

Let s heed the call, step up and make it happen.

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