Hannah and Alex Laman were only eight years old, in third grade, when they read a news story about a local elementary school that did not have any books for the children. It was a shock for them to learn some children and schools in their own city did not have access to libraries filled with books or even the text books necessary for classroom lessons. The Laman twins wanted to help. With a desire to share their own love for reading, they decided to start a “business” to donate books to kids.
From the moment of inspiration, to the first box of books, the Laman twins, Hannah and Alex, drove the effort to collect and distribute the books to children and schools in need. Other than depending on someone for transportation, they personally collected and distributed the books for donation. They met with community, business, and charity organization leaders personally to secure donated books, and distribute them to kids in need.
Collecting books for donation may have begun as a simple request from friends, but news spread quickly into schools and businesses throughout the community. Book drives were organized and more books were collected. Other students have been inspired to host book drives from schools like Milford (several book drives have been hosted by them); Madeira, etc.
In 2017, examples of organizations that have held book drives or fundraisers for Adopt A Book have been: Barnes and Noble; Procter and Gamble, GETDOT, Milford City Schools, St. Margaret of York, Hatton Institute for Research, Department of Treasury, BKD Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum, Madeira City Schools, Bowie Properties, Saxton, William E. Durr Library, Truepoint Wealth Counsel, Villa Madonna Academy, Intelligrated and Ethos Laboratories.
Books are provided to organizations that serve children in need such as Hamilton County Educational Services for their Head start programming, Silverton Elementary School, WordPlay’s Ride for Reading event, Newport Primary and Southgate Elementary in Kentucky, and many other Cincinnati Public Schools and programs.
Businesses offered collection/drop-off sites where people could easily donate books. Collections outgrew the Laman’s bedrooms, garage and basement. The Laman twins delivered the books to the schools, organizations, and kids in need.
In 2011, less than 18 months since beginning Adopt A Book, the Laman twins also launched “The Little Free Library” in their hometown of Loveland, Ohio. It is in connection with the organization around the country which provides a “Little Free Library” in a public place where people can leave a book, or pick up a book to read. Alex and Hannah met with city leaders, received approval, installed and still maintain the “Little Free Library” along the Scenic Little Miami River Trail in Loveland. It is another way to donate books and the gift of reading to others.
Through September of 2018 – in just over 7 years – the Laman twins have distributed nearly 140,000 books to over 100 locations. Those locations include schools and organizations where they provide reading opportunities for school children throughout Northern Kentucky, Indiana, Cincinnati and several surrounding counties. Their helping hand has stretched all the away to Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico where books they have collected are donated to help bring the gift of reading to children there.
A partnership with a national retailer provides a drop-off point for anyone to give used or even new books for donation. Hannah and Alex have been recognized with multiple awards for their achievements. They were among the youngest ever to be recognized by United Way as “Leaders and Legends” for their work in and around the community. As a result, schools, teachers, and school children receive books they can call their own; a gift of reading they otherwise would not have.
In the last year, Hannah and Alex expanded their donation from books to donating bookshelves and “reading buddies” to help kids and child organizations create personal reading spaces. They have also been active with the Saturday Hoops program hosted at the OTR Recreation Center by helping to establish and furnish a reading room.
To learn more about our social media presence, please view the links below. Additionally, we are providing the link to the video production, The Hero Effect sponsored by United Way Worldwide regarding Hannah and Alex’s efforts to share their love of reading and improve reading among children in need.