TULSA, Okla. — Looking through the eyes of a child can bring just the right answer to what’s truly important in life.
Eight-year-old Tulsa native Lily Allen has the perfect vantage point to answer that question, and she’ll tell you in the brief moments her eyes are pulled away from a new book.
“I love reading because it can be magical,” Lily said. “It can take you anywhere.”
According to her mom, Cory Allen, Lily’s passion for reading started before she was just two years old.
“She’s just always loved books, Ms. Allen said. “She is a true reader.”
Her passion for books grew deeper over the summer due to the pandemic. The Allen family chose to play it safe, and stayed quarantined from mid-March until school started in late August.
“It was tough being stuck inside in the same place day after day,” Ms. Allen said. “It became a game within itself, coming up with different things to do to break up the difference from one day to the next.”
However, books were what kept Lily from feeling too stuck.
“I can be actually anywhere even if I’m cooped up at home. I can be at a pirate ship or with Little Red Riding Hood or at the army or on the Titanic..sailing,” Lily said.
While everything, including local libraries, remained closed, the Gaining Ground Literacy bus became an even brighter beacon of fun for Lily and her younger brother, Lucian, because the only thing better than a book for Lily, was a new book.
“I would be so happy when the bus comes, but I would also be very impatient because I’m like, ‘ugh I want the bus to come now,' ” Lily said.
When Lily learned she’d be able to return to school, she started thinking about other kids who wouldn’t be.
“For virtual kids, they have to stay cooped up at home,” Lily said. “So I thought they probably need more books because they can take you anywhere, any where.”
So to help more kids, she set out to help Gaining Ground Literacy give more books by creating a snow cone fundraiser for the non-profit.
“She just made the decision and starting planning,” Ms. Allen said.
“I’m only eight years old,” Lily said. “I didn’t know I could raise enough money.”
In just two days, Lily raised $502, which she donated to Gaining Ground Literacy.
“It made me feel proud of her, very, very proud,” Lucian said.
For her, making the stand was never about receiving any recognition, just knowing that she helped spread her love of a great adventure through a good book.
“I wouldn’t even have to tell them it was me,” Lily said. “I would still be full of joy and so happy.”
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