Book Lover: Bloomfield Hills Student Collects Books to Start Detroit School Library

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When 11th-grader Tage Smith learned that a school in Southwest Detroit did not have a library, he got the idea to start a book drive to help them. He calls the campaign “Books For Buddies.” His goal is to deliver 100 books a month to Bennett Elementary. He said books are an important part of education so everyone should have access to a library.

“I am so lucky to be part of such a well-funded school district,” he said. “I decided I should pay it forward by helping out school kids who were less fortunate.”

He said it is so important to have access to books. Tage loves reading biographies and autobiographies, so it’s no surprise his favorite subject is history.

“Kids should be able to follow their interests and skill level in the local library,” he said. “It’s all part of learning.”

Tage is collecting lower-grade books now through his senior year (June 2022). Dr. Seuss books are the requested the most, he said. Read more and how to donate below:

Question: Why did you want to start a book drive?

Answer: I wanted to do a service project for elementary school kids. I partnered up with a first grade classroom in Southwest Detroit and toured the school with the teacher. On the tour, I learned the school did not have a library. That’s how the idea to start the book drive started.

Q: What made you know this was the project for you?

A: My mom really encouraged literacy when I was younger. We read together all the time and I know how valuable books can be in a child’s life.

Q: What did it feel like when you walked into the school and saw that it lacked what you had had all of your life?

A: I did not know how I could contribute until I did the walk through at the school. Once I saw the empty library, I started thinking on how to provide books for the kids. I took a chance because the success of my service project really depends on donations. So far it has been hugely successful!

Q: Why did you feel compelled to help?

A: I am so lucky to be part of such a well-funded school district. I decided I should pay it forward by helping out school kids who were less fortunate.

Q: What are some of your favorite books?

A: I have great memories of reading with my mom when I was younger. Goodnight Moon, Tiki Tiki Tembo, Zin Zin Violin, were childhood favorites.

Now I mostly read biographies and autobiographies. I like to learn about famous people and how they managed to accomplish their goals.

Q: Why is reading important?

A: In my house as a kid, reading was how we passed the time. My mom read to me every night and when I learned to read, I would read to her. A lot of times we would take turns reading sentences on the page. I guess that started my fondness for reading.

Q: How can people send books to you to give to the school?

A: My FB page includes Amazon links to suggested books and how to donate.

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