(NewsNation) — When Haili Smith, 15, was growing up, she noticed that there weren’t a lot of books that included characters who looked like her.
So when she finally did find books that did, she and her sibling, Brooke, 12, of San Francisco, decided that they wanted to share them with everyone.
The two founded “Books Like Me,” a nonprofit organization that donates diverse children’s books to schools. According to their website, bookslikemeinc.org, since Aug. 12, 2020, “Books Like Me” has donated more than 10,000 books to 300 schools.
Haili and Brooke started by collecting diverse children’s book donations from family, friends and “some caring individuals” they never met, the website states.
Now, Brooke said, they find books from stores such as Barnes and Noble, or online. Sometimes teachers will suggest books as well, Brooke said.
“I think it’s such an important thing to do, because if you don’t see yourself in books, you won’t want to read them,” Haili said. “Whenever I did find books that I saw myself in and that represented me, it made me want to keep reading.”
To help “Books Like Me” continue to grow, you can donate through Venmo, an Amazon Wishlist or PayPal.