Peninsula teen collects 25,000 books for kids in book drive

Byby Cornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, February 16, 2015
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St. Francis High School sophomore Ryan Traynor was concerned about declining literacy rates so he created a youth literacy council.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- A Redwood City teenager turned his passion for reading into a powerful effort to spread the word about literacy in his community.

Ryan Traynor is an ABC7 Star. The 15-year-old loves books and has been reading to kids since he was a kid. He created a collection drive like no other and it's shocking to hear how many books he collected.

"I always had lots of books growing up and I loved reading. You get out there in the real world and you realize not everybody has that opportunity," Ryan said.

This Eagle Scout and sophomore at St. Francis High School in Mountain View was concerned about declining literacy rates. So he got to work creating a youth literacy council and started a book drive for kids without.

"We put out the book donation bins and we got the whole community involved," said Ryan.

Ryan had no idea how popular his book drive would be. He started something in his community and the books started rolling in. When it was over, Ryan collected a whopping 25,000 books for kids.

"I didn't expect it to get so big," Ryan said. "I had to go out and buy an additional 200 boxes to put all the books in."

All those books were donated to Peninsula libraries, schools, and charities.

"I feel like every single book that we donate reaches some child who needs it," Ryan said.

Ryan's parents are amazed he pulled it off. Ryan's dad, Steve Traynor, told ABC7 News, "Ryan's been fantastic in his first 15 years. I'm really curious to see what the next 15 are going to bring."

Ryan has even created a website to help others get their own book drives started. He hopes others will keep future efforts going.

"I'll pass the torch to them, so to speak, so that they can lead their own," Ryan said.

Ryan is spreading literacy one book at a time.

If you know a star where you live, let us know. Click here: Meet the stars where you live

ABC and Disney are partnering with the nonprofit First Book to share the magic of storytelling by donating 5,000 books to the Children's Book Project in San Francisco. You can help new books reach children in low-income families. Click here for more information

Click here for Ryan's blog: Redwood City Youth Literacy Council -- Youth for Literacy

Book Drive Tool Kit for Literacy