Kathryn Sonnie is a living example of manifesting success.

She was a teacher working with Global Hope Alliance, an organization that builds schools and libraries in Africa. When others found out what she was doing, the amazing people in her networks wanted to fill the new buildings with donated reading materials. However, shipping heavy boxes of books overseas was too expensive, especially on a teacher’s salary. After some research, she found African Library Project, which has come to specialize in exactly that–getting books to Africa.

“ALP handling most of the logistics was really helpful for me,” Kathryn said.

The steady flow of books was taken care of, leaving this serial book-driver with more pressing challenges like finding time, space, and money for the cause.

“I know so many people who want to help, I’m just trying to keep up with demand. They’re good problems to have. There’s an abundance of books – it’s just managing all of it,” Kathryn said.

One of the ways Kathryn raised books was by teaming up with her local Barnes & Noble Booksellers and creating a holiday service project, giving customers the opportunity to buy books and donate them directly to the cause.

“People are super generous, and we end up with 20 or 30 boxes of books to send every year,” Kathryn said. 

For her, getting to see the photos of children enjoying their new libraries was the greatest reward; a sentiment many of our book drive organizers share.

“The most rewarding part is books in kids’ hands – the joy these kids have when they see all those beautiful books and learning to read along the way. Knowing what life is like for kids in those villages and how this library project will open up their world to so much learning.”

Literacy heroes come in all shapes and sizes. It was the smaller ones, especially, who stood out to Kathryn. Children who donated from their personal collections touched her deepest. In many cases, Kathryn asked for donors to color and draw on the first page of their donations, or to leave a note taped in the back of the book to make a connection between children across continents.

“They’re going to read that note in the back and think about ‘who is this little boy who sent that?’” Kathryn said.

If you want to make a difference and start a book drive of your own, Kathryn has this advice:

“It’s not as hard as people think it is. If you just commit to doing it the books and the money will come. People are eager to participate in something like this. Everybody has books that they would love to pass on.”

Also important to remember is that you’re not on your journey alone.

“Not one person donated all those books,” Kathryn said. “1,000 individuals wanted to send a book to Africa.”