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Young sisters in Westchase create 'Books Like Me' nonprofit so more students can read about diverse characters

Brooke & Haili Smith have donated 100s of books
Posted at 5:22 AM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2022-01-14 07:42:43-05

WESTCHASE, Fla. — Brooke and Haili Smith are voracious readers.

There's only one nagging problem.

"My sister and I noticed that in some of our favorite books, there weren't colored people or minorities, or members of the LGBTQ community," says Haili, who's 12. "Or if they were there, they didn't contribute."

The sisters from Westchase wanted more school libraries, from kindergarten to high school, to have a better selection of books that celebrate diversity.

"We want kids to have the opportunity to read about main characters just like them," says Brooke, who's 10.

So with the help of their parents, the sisters started Books Like Me as a way to get books with black characters, gay characters, characters with special needs, and all walks of life, into libraries.

"This will make kids feel better about themselves, will help their self-confidence," says Haili.

The nonprofit is only a couple of months old, and yet it's already a hit.

Thanks to a generous community -- buying books off an Amazon wishlist, offering gently used books, providing monetary donations -- the girls have been able to donate 574 books to 36 schools.

For more information on Books Like me, go here.