Nearly 800,000 books and counting

Kinderberry Hill hosts book drive for Maria Keller’s Read Indeed 

Kinderberry Hill’s six Child Development Center locations in the Twin Cities will play host to a Plymouth girl’s dream of collecting 1 million books before turning 18.

Maria Keller, 12, founded the nonprofit organization Read Indeed when she was 8 to collect books for less fortunate children who may not have access to reading material.

“My mom was talking to me in the car about four years ago, and she was telling me about how some kids just don’t like to read while others simply don’t have books,” Maria said. “I love to read, and that didn’t seem fair to me at all.”

Maria Keller, founder of Read Indeed, with books collected at Kinderberry Hill. (Submitted photo)
Maria Keller, founder of Read Indeed, with books collected at Kinderberry Hill. (Submitted photo)

Since Read Indeed’s initial book drive, Maria estimates she has collected roughly 770,000 and has donated them to children, schools and churches around Minnesota, the country and the world.

Kinderberry Hill locations will be collecting books to help Maria spread the joy of reading Feb. 18 to March 1.

“I’m excited just to see how many books we collect,” said Jodi Valentino, Executive Program Director of Kinderberry Hill Plymouth. “It’s a good reason we’re collecting books, and I hope we can surpass our amount from last year.”

This will be the second year Kinderberry Hill is hosting a drive for Read Indeed. In 2012, the childcare centers collected nearly 1,150 books.

“I’m hoping we can at least double that amount,” Valentino said.

However large or small, Maria is appreciative of all the donations given to Read Indeed.

“I think they just need to collect as many books as they can and we’ll be happy with whatever they can give us,” said Maria. “It’s just awesome that they’re doing this.”

A major aspect of Maria’s work comes from her own passion for reading. She said she reads a book a week and that literature has always been a big part of her life.

“There are a lot of benefits to reading,” she said. “It affects all areas of school and life in general. It’s extremely important to get books into kids’ hands. It really effects their lives and makes school and all aspects much easier.”

Valentino noted that the impact of receiving a donated book can run deeper for a child than simply having something to read.

“I would think it means the world to them,” Valentino said. “If you have nothing, to be able to have a book and sit and share it with your family, I just think that it’s a win situation.”

As Maria’s goal of 1 million books rapidly approaches, she said she has no intention of calling it quits after her benchmark is surpassed.

“Obviously, I’m getting kind of close,” said Maria. “Once I get to a million I’m just going to have a big party and keep going.”

Valentino said Maria sets a great example of what it means to give and be generous in a world that isn’t always fair to children.

“For somebody so young and doing this for other people, it just shows what kind of heart she has and how she wants to give to others who are less fortunate,” Valentino said. “To be her age and to realize this need around the world, that’s huge.”

Kinderberry Hill locations and book drive times

7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Feb. 18 to March 1.

Eden Prairie: 10160 Hennepin Town Road

Edina: 3950 70th Street West

Plymouth: 185 Cheshire Land


Contact Brian Rosemeyer at [email protected]