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Teacher collects thousands of books on mission to get kids to read

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A New Jersey teacher is on a mission to get every child in the state enjoy reading.

Camden County teacher Larry Abrams is completing this mission by collecting books for kids across the state.

“So many children, especially those living at or below the poverty level lack books - even one book in the house,” he says.

Abrams says that he saw first-hand how bad the situation can be when he began teaching in a Title 1 School District. One of his students told him that she couldn’t afford a book for her toddler.

"I decided that I needed to do something. I didn't have any more books at my house because I donated them all to the library. So I put a call out among friends on social media and I got flooded with books. I got 1,000 books,” Abrams says.

This was the beginning of Booksmiles. After two years, Abrams says that he has collected more than 120,000 books. He says that this week he will be moving more than 10,000 books out of his home garage.

“It was like hoarders and finally I said, ‘This can’t go on,’” says Abrams.

Booksmiles will now be operated out of a new warehouse location that will also serve as a book bank.

The donated books are placed in bins and then sorted by volunteers. They are then placed in boxes and organized by age groups so that teachers can come pick them up for their classrooms.

“With Booksmiles teachers no longer have to dip into their pockets,” says Abrams.

Abrams says that his goal is to hit 1 million donated books.

“That’s a huge goal of mine,” he says.

A book giveaway will be held in August. More information can be found on the Booksmiles website.

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