JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Science Hill High School sophomore Aarushi Raj aims to spread her love for reading to local students who might not know reading is their passion — yet.

Raj, who wasn’t always a bookworm herself, partnered with United Way of East Tennessee Highlands to share the joy that good reads now bring her.

She launched the drive by donating her childhood favorite, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

“I believe that every child deserves to have access to the books that he or she wants to read,” Raj said. “I want to share the joy of reading with other young readers so that they can also explore new worlds.

“I hope people will join me by donating one of their favorite books so it can impact others the same way it impacted you. Our love of reading starts with one book, so why not let your book be the one that creates the love of reading for someone else.”

Raj’s love for books wasn’t always so; she said the passion grew once she uncovered gems like the Junie B. Jones series, the Romana series, among other page-turners.

“When I read these books, I felt that I knew the main characters,” she said. “I followed them on their journeys throughout the books. I felt the concerns of the main characters, waited anxiously when they faced challenges and cheered with them at their successes.”

The community can share the joy for reading by donating books to various offices:

  • United Way of East Tennessee Highlands Office at 1907 N. Roan St.
  • Indian Trail Intermediate School at 307 Car-Mol Dr.
  • Lake Ridge Elementary School at 1001 Lake Ridge Square
  • New Student Media Center on the second floor of ETSU’s Culp Center at 412 J.L. Seehorn Road

Those interesting in contributing to the cause can also donate by CLICKING HERE.