8-year-old continues her drive for 2 million books

Selah Thompson, founder of The Empowered Readers Literacy Project with her little sister, Syrai, shown with the first book of Selah's "Penelope the Pirate Princess" series.
Selah Thompson, founder of The Empowered Readers Literacy Project with her little sister, Syrai, shown with the first book of Selah's "Penelope the Pirate Princess" series.

Credit: Contributed'

Credit: Contributed'

When your 5-year-old daughter says she wants to help her classmates and friends learn to read, as a parent, you listen.

Selah Thompson’s concern for others was genuine.

She told her mother: ” ‘We really should just give away 20 hundred thousand books,’ " Nicole Thompson recalled. It was “a laughable moment for us, but as Selah stuck to that number, the realization of the impact, the longevity and the reach, it seemed like a number that would be impossible for a lot of people, but with our daughter, she says ‘We can do anything.’ ”

In 2018 with the help of her parents, Khalil and Nicole Thompson, the nonprofit The Empowered Readers Literacy Project was created. Their mission was to combat illiteracy by building solid family reading habits and motivating children to read.

“It was serendipitous that her passion to create happened simultaneously with this idea of the nonprofit to get books like hers and other diverse books to kids, to inspire them to read and for families to start building strong reading rituals,” said Selah’s mom.

Selah’s book giveaway goal equates to two million, said her dad.

When asked about her Christmas list, Selah, now 8, said, “I want people to get books for me to giveaway at the holiday book drive.”

The nonprofit has organized a number of book drives that will continue through the middle of December. So far they’ve collected more than 300 diverse children’s books in November, adding to the hundreds they’ve collected since starting the Empowered Readers Literacy Project.

Reaching underserved communities, the family is also partnering with other food distribution efforts to pair books with meals.

Books collected will be distributed throughout the holiday season to organizations such as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Cool Girls Inc. Selah has also committed to donating books from her series “Penelope the Pirate Princess” as well.

“2020 has been a hard year for everybody. Just making sure kids have something that will make them smile. Bring some joy to close out the year that has been so difficult, especially for kids … and hopefully, some inspiration and optimism for the year to come is something we are really excited about,” Khalil said.

For more information on Selah, their mission or where to donate, visit: https://www.empoweredreaders.org/

Each Sunday we write about a deserving person or charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To submit a story for us to cover, email us at ajc.doinggood@gmail.com.

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