WTOP Top Kid: Md. 10-year-old’s love of books helped her start shared library

Alani Jordan is being recognized for her outstanding efforts to make sure every kid gets a chance to read. (Courtesy Alani Jordan)

A 10-year-old girl from Odenton, Maryland, is being lauded for her love of books.

Alani Jordan has gone above and beyond in her support of the Little Free Library project — and she started her own library in August 2020 after schools and libraries shutdown due to the pandemic.

“I really love reading,” Jordan told WTOP’s Melissa Howell. “When I read, I feel like a movie is playing in my mind, and when something really sad or happy happens to a character, I feel that emotion.”

Jordan put her library at Melwood Elementary in Upper Marlboro, which also happens to be her mom’s old school. She had wide array of books that ranged from below Kindergarten to above 5th grade.

“And it felt really good because I knew the kids really needed it,” Jordan said. “I added diverse books because the kids were diverse. And I know schools need to learn about diversity.”

So far, she’s collected more than 223 books and raised almost $200 for a book drive. And she’s personally donated more than 100 books to libraries around Maryland and D.C.

Jordan is on a mission to make sure all kids have a chance to read.

“It’s important, because I know kids need education, and they need to know how to read to do things in life,” she said.

One of her focuses is on making sure people know they can donate.

“They can do things to help kids,” Jordan said, “they can do things if they live near a Little Free Library, they can put books in there and they can restock. Or they can even make their own one.”

Of course, since Jordan is a big reader, writing is up next.

“And I could possibly publish them,” she said.

Agents, get your contracts ready.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report.

This article is part of WTOP’s TOP Kids program, where kids in the D.C. area are recognized for the amazing things they do. The winners are awarded $500. The program is sponsored by Northwest Federal Credit Union. View other winners here.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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