MILTON, Ga. — Books can be informative and transformative, they can induce critical thought, transport us to other times and places or provide an escape from daily troubles and concerns. However, not everyone has access to books.
Two Milton High School students hope to improve access to books while increasing the availability of literature in African nations by organizing an upcoming book drive at the Milton Library.
The drive, which takes place Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Milton Library, will take donations to benefit the Books for Africa nonprofit. The organization collects donated books and ships them to African countries where they are distributed to students.
The event was organized by Milton High sophomores Diya Chutani and Esha Pentakota.
Chutani said the book drive has two main benefits — providing books where they are needed and enabling the Milton community to come together for a good cause.
“I particularly like fiction, and when you read fiction you are transported into that story,” Chutani said. “That is especially important for kids who may not be as privileged as we are here, they can escape with books. My dad has also always told me about the importance of reading and education, so we hope to give those kids a chance to be successful.”
Chutani said the book drive can also influence her fellow teenagers to try and make a difference.
“We hope we can inspire kids our age to do things for the community,” she said. “Education is also such an important part of a growing kid’s life, and I feel that some teenagers take their education for granted.”
Chutani and Pentakota aim to collect at least 250 books which will be sent to the Books for Africa warehouse in Atlanta before shipment overseas.
Books for Africa accepts popular fiction and nonfiction books published no more than 15 years ago. Textbooks published after 2002 or reference, medical, nursing, information technology or law books published after 2007 will also be accepted. School supplies can also be donated.
Items not accepted include magazines, cookbooks, American history or civics books, murder-mysteries or anything including “kill,” “die” or “murder” in the title.
Chutani said though the book drive will be small in scale, she hopes it will have a major impact on the lives of those in other countries.
“We are hoping that people will come and drop off books to make a difference and bring the community together,” she said.
According to its website, Books for Africa has shipped over 45 million books to Africa, spread among all of the continent’s countries, since 1998.