Heidi VanSumeren, an 8-year-old girl from Michigan, recently lost her home in a fire, which destroyed most of her belongings, including her treasured library.
Author Bob Shea learned of the tragedy from one of Heidi’s teachers when he was giving a presentation at Parma Elementary School, where Heidi is a second grader.
“After it was over, I asked, ‘Would it be alright if I just put it on Twitter that this girl needs books?'” Shea told ABC News. “All of my followers are kid lit [children’s literature] people.”
Shea shared Heidi’s story on social media, and asked authors and illustrators to donate whatever books they can to replenish Heidi’s bookshelf. Hundreds of books poured in, which were first shipped to Heidi’s school.
— goodreads (@goodreads) March 31, 2016
“They know that books save lives and that books are an escape for people going through tough times,” Colby Sharp, who had shared Heidi’s story on his literature blog, told ABC News. “They couldn’t stand the thought of this little girl going without them.”
Well wishers also sent Heidi gift cards, new clothes, and a bookshelf.
“We ended up with three backpacks and three big totes full of books,” said Beth VanSumeren, Heidi’s mother. “She loves looking at every book because a lot of the authors signed them or wrote a message for her inside.”