rebelling against low expectations

Maria Keller, Age 13: Donated One Million Books to Needy Children


(HuffPo) — At age 8, Maria Keller, of Orono, Minn., learned that not all children own a book. Determined to do something about it, she declared she would donate 1 million books to kids in need by the time she turned 18.

Keller not only reached her goal this week, she did it five years early.

On Tuesday, a children’s book publisher in Mankato, Minn., gave the 13-year-old philanthropist the last 36,000 books she needed to reach her goal, Fox affiliate KMSP reported.

“I’m thrilled to see my dream to give books to kids, hundreds of thousands of kids, come to reality,” Maria wrote on the website of her nonprofit, Read Indeed.

Keller has distributed books to hospitals, schools and nonprofits around the world.

According to an Oct. 9 entry on the site, Keller’s tally is actually now 1,012,227. But she isn’t stopping there. She urged the contributions to keep coming and said she would launch a new literacy initiative soon.

Keller hovered around the 800,000 mark in February, the Sun Sailor wrote, drawing admiration for her campaign.

“For somebody so young and doing this for other people, it just shows what kind of heart she has,” Jodi Valentino, executive program director for a child development center, told the publication.

Maria, an avid reader who lists “The Giver” among her favorite books, began her crusade with family and friends. She then graduated to staging local book drives and used the garage to store the donations. The inventory grew so large that the family secured a warehouse, with volunteers helping to sort and box, KARE 11 reported in 2012,

Now that Maria has surpassed her pledge, her mother, Maura, reflected on her accomplishment. “What amazes me is how many lives she’s touched,” she told KMSP.

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Photo courtesy of KARE 11.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Wow. That’s really cool. All the stories on this website prove that teens CAN do great things. That’ so amazing, you’re my age. I wanna do something like that!!!!! 😀

  • I absolutely LOVE this idea!!! Especially because I’m the type of person who can’t live without a book 🙂 Thank you Maria!!!

  • That is SO cool. I love books and others should have the chance to enjoy books also. SO awesome! Thank you Maria!

  • Wow.
    I know I’m two mouths late to the discussion, but I just wanted to say, this is awesome. One again, this shows that “We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength”. Thank you for publishing this article. 🙂

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →