Andrea Liao has loved reading since she first held a book in her hands.
For her, going on adventures with Harry, Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts (from the “Harry Potter” book series) and walking through the moors with Kathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (from the book “Wuthering Heights”) greatly influenced the creative development of her young mind.
Liao said having the privilege of ample access to books, and the other literary worlds those books brought, is one she’ll always be grateful for.
When she learned other kids didn’t have the same access to books as her, she decided to do something about it.
Now a sophomore at Interlake High School, Liao has launched her student-run organization, Book the Future.
Dedicated to global youth literacy, she said she is working toward a future where all children are able to grow up with access to books and literature.
“My ongoing literacy campaign is dedicated to supporting youth and families in need. I raise money in order to provide the institutions I support with adequate, high-quality literature, and to be able to ship our books to numerous locations around the world,” Liao said.
Though there are many established organizations dedicated to improving literacy and access to books, Liao still wanted to do her “part” to help.
She began her organization in 2017 by contacting various organizations and trying to find a way to collaborate. Liao has worked with World Relief Seattle, Seattle Children’s Hospital and others to hold book drives.
“I hold monthly book drives in support of foster care homes, orphanages, refugee families and children, churches, children’s hospitals, and more throughout the year,” she said.
She is hoping to work with the African Library Project to send books to children in Ghana early next year.
She launched her website, bookthefuture.wixsite.com, to display creative works of art and literature of local youth.
“In the monthly blog, we encourage the creation of pieces that serve as a medium of political expression. [I] believe in an environment where youth are able to use creativity and activism as a way to express themselves,” she said.
Liao said she hopes to continue holding book drives for less fortunate kids for as long as she can.
“I think I’ve been able donate about 1,000 books at this point,” she said. “One of the biggest challenges is getting monetary donations, but we’re still getting some.”
Liao has received an overwhelmingly positive response from her work.
“Everyone has been really supportive and has been wanting to find out how to help,” she said. “I hope I can inspire others to do this because I think it’s really important for everyone to have access to books.”
To learn more about Book the Future, visit Liao’s website at https://bookthefuture.wixsite.com/website.