The Value of a Book

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

If you have a moment, take a look at this video:

It’s the story of 13-year-old Maria Keller who has gathered and donated more than 1 million books to needy children (and adults) all over the world. She started working on this dream to get books to children who don’t have the money to buy them when she was 8 years old.  She now runs a non-profit organization to continue to bring books to needy children in every state in the US and every country of the world. She gathers donations from individuals and publishing houses and distributes them where there is a need.

I am SO impressed by Maria. She had a dream to help others, went after it, and she has been very successful. In the interview she gives in the video, you can see her heart for these children who don’t have books. She values books very highly and wants all children to be able to own books just as she does. Maria doesn’t do this for her financial gain, it’s all about getting books out to children. What an amazing young woman.

Working in publishing and with writers on a daily basis, it can be too easy to forget the value of a book. A single book can change a life. I pursued a job in publishing because I knew this and have experienced it, and I bet many of you felt called to write for the same reasons. But it is so easy to lose focus when every day is filled with books, queries, royalty statements, coming up with marketing ideas, author copies, ARCs, giveaways, etc.

Books are powerful and wonderful. The written words, when put together just right, can take our breath away with their beauty or strength. To be able to own these books is something we should cherish. To have the gift of writing a book is a blessing from God. You have been given the gift of touching the lives of people you will likely never meet. And a book can go places you might not ever be able to go.

What helps you to remember the value of books?

How have books changed your life?

To help Maria’s cause or to find out more about her, click here.

Books are something we should cherish. How have books changed your life? Click to tweet.


35 Responses

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. The public library . . . row after row of choices! We lived in a remote area when I learned to read. Every other week, my mother drove to the nearest library. I read and re-read my collection until the next trip. We moved to town, and I could walk to the library on my own. It was glorious! 50 years later, it’s a rare week I don’t stop by the public library for a book or two.

    • Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild says:

      As a small child my mother would drop me off at the Cleveland Public Library and then go to the department stores to do her shopping. I would always ask to be left where the little books were-the Beatrice Potter books. Mainly because they fit in my hands. I would spend the better part of the day lost in the world of Peter Rabbit and his friends. I am sure the librarians did not relish baby sitting a preschooler but they were always kind. This is one of my fondest memories of books.

    • Rachel Kent says:

      A library is a wondrous sight for a book lover!

  2. Jill Kemerer says:

    Okay, so I teared up watching the video, and then really lost it when you mentioned that writing is a blessing from God. It’s true, and I think it’s really easy to take that knowledge for granted.

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. Something tells me Maria will have career in publishing. 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend! And bless you!

  3. The neighborhood I grew up in was curiously devoid of girls anywhere close to my age. So books were my best friends and, many times, my sole companions. Christmas, a day I received books as gifts, was one of the best days of the year as well as any day my mother drove me to the public library. When I read now, I’m just staying in touch with my childhood friends. 🙂

    What a wonderful vision Maria has made happen. Many prayers for her continued success!

  4. Micky Wolf says:

    What a great post, Rachel. You (and Maria for sure) have reminded me once again why I write–because reading and books have been impacting my life since I first held a Golden Book in hand so many years ago. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Wow, what an amazing young woman. 🙂 To have that heart and passion and to follow up on it at her age…..So inspiring.

    This post has been an encouragement, Rachel. Thank you.

    Yes, books have changed my life. The Debt, by Angela Hunt challenged me to live my faith more out loud. Numerous Bible studies have challenged me in the way I live my life for Jesus. The Atonement Child, by Francine Rivers, ministered to my heart after a very painful time in my life. I could go on with my list, but I’ll stop there. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  6. This was such an encouragement to me today, Rachel! Thank you!

  7. Ambition is right! I loving seeing a kid who knows what she wants and fights to get it. And what a worthy cause! Inspiring. 🙂

  8. Reading the Black Stallion books as a girl set my imagination free to run and race and win, reading The Zion books by Brock and Bodie Thoene and The Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings and The Beyonders taught me about war and sacrifice and pain and heroes, reading Inkspell by Cornelia funke taught me about death and love and hurt and beauty, reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman taught me about tricks and layers of fiction and craft and Reading The Raggamuffin Gospel and Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning taught me too much to say. Books are breath and life and everything we are, all wrapped up in a easy to use package. Love them!

    • Jill Kemerer says:

      I spent all of my allowance on Black Stallion books and the “Shoes” series by Noel Streetfield! So fun hearing your love of the Black Stallion books too!

    • Rachel Kent says:

      Great list! I didn’t realize The Princess Bride was an actual book until I was in my twenties! I loved the movie, but hadn’t read the book. It’s now a favorite.

      • He is so tricky with that book. I believed everything he said about it until my best friend pointed me to his website: “It’s all made up Kristen! All of it.” Even the prologue was fictional, the author has daughters…but said in the prologue that he had a fat son who stole all the mashed potatoes. Such a funny book.

  9. Books were my North Star through a childhood that was not of the best, and through the following years when I was tasked with action items that had the capacity to destroy the soul.

    They gave me dreams, a sense of meaning, and hope.

    And today, facing a situation that is irritatingly grim, they give me the incentive not to give up.

    Specific titles?

    Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
    Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind – Shinryu Suzuki
    Round the Bend – Nevil Shute
    Stranger to the Ground – Richard Bach
    Nanette – Edwards Park
    Xin Loi, Viet Nam – Al Sever
    Luck and a Lancaster – Harry Yates

    • Rachel Kent says:

      I am so glad books help you to press on! Your posts here on the blog often encourage me.

      Thanks so much for being part of the blog community!

    • Alda Dyal Chand says:

      What a great list. Our students in a remote village in India already have access to books that they love. We have an English medium school and students are reading stories from around the world. These students are benefiting from folks like Marie Keller. I’m grateful for folks like this. Our children love books.

  10. Lori Benton says:

    Rachel, in the midst of a very busy day packed full of promotional research and activity, as well as writing, you just gave me a much needed reminder of WHY I do what I do. Thank you for sharing about Maria. I shared this post on my FB author page this morning. Now I’m off to work on the WIP with renewed focus.

  11. Say, can I add poetry that made a difference in my life?

    “Ulysses” by Tennyson – made me unafraid of growing older

    “Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries” by Housman – its inspiration almost got me killed, but in a good way

    “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” by Yeats – almost got me killed, in a stupid but extremely fun way

    “Fighting On” by Henry Lee, which I think appeals to anyone facing long odds, and which I will quote here – it’s short.

    I see no gleam of victory alluring,
    no hope of splendid booty or of gain.
    If I endure, I must go on enduring,
    and my sole reward for bearing pain – is pain.
    Yet though the thrill, the zest, and the hope are gone,
    something within me keeps me fighting on.

    Henry Lee was an officer in the US Army in the Philippines at the beginning of WW2. He survived the Bataan Death March, only to die on a Japanese ‘hell ship’ en route to the Home Islands in 1944.

    We are lucky that this poem (and others) survived.

  12. Loved this today, Rachel!

    Books make me dream big! They make me think anything is possible!

  13. Thanks for sharing this encouraging word today.

    I spent many afternoons walking to the library when I was younger, and I usually made my little brother go with me. I loved to read, and I’d read to him also when he was young.

    Once I discovered Nancy Drew books, I’d save up my money, and when we’d drive to Louisville I always talked my mother into taking us to the bookstore. I knew exactly how much money I needed, including tax, right down to the penny.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Rachel Kent says:

      I love it! I know you weren’t the only one. Nancy Drew was so popular! I hope my daughter likes Nancy Drew too. We’ll see if she thinks they’re too old fashioned by the time she’s a teen.

    • I loved Nancy Drew too! My friend and I always played Nancy Drew, but there was much arguing over who got to be Nancy and who had to be George or Bess? It was Bess right? And my oldest is ten and he reads Hardy Boys and enjoys them, so that kind of book hasn’t gotten too old fashioned yet.

  14. I read the book “The Book that Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books that Matter Most to Them.” and wrote an article summarizing them. An interesting insight into what can influence. One author said the Sears Catalog—where he could look at the difference between a gas-powered vs an electric powered arc welder–opening a new world for him.

    Thank you for the article—it should not surprise us what a 13-year old can do when they have a mission and a goal.

  15. Wow what an amazing little girl! My aunt gave me my very first adult book. It was Janette Oke story. From that moment on I was hooked on reading. And it was that same aunt who inspired me to write stories of my own.

    So many times I’ve thought about letting go of the dream and just focusing 100% on my family, but then someone tells me how influenced they’ve been from my writing and my stories and it gives me renewed strength to press on and keep writing life changing stories that encourage.

    Great post! Thank you!