Maria Keller has always been a book lover. "I guess it takes me away into the book, and I feel like I'm there," Maria told KARE 11 last year when the station honored the 13-year-old as among "Eleven Who Care."
At age 8, Maria was devastated by the thought of children who didn't have books. “I love to read, and that didn’t seem fair to me at all," she told the Sun Sailor newspaper earlier this year.
So Maria did something about it, FOX 9 reports. She set out to collect and donate 1 million books to children in need by the time she was 18.
And she has reached her goal five years early, FOX 9 reports.
"What amazes me is how many lives she's touched – and how many people have gotten involved in Read Indeed," her mother Maura Keller said.
Maria's effort grew into Read Indeed, a non-profit literacy organization that operates out of a Hopkins warehouse. She's received books sent from across the globe, and donated them to children in 16 states and at least eight countries. A children's book publisher in Mankato recently helped Maria hit 1 million books with a donation of 36,000, FOX reports.
"It's so cool how people have helped me out with my dream," the girl said. Her new goal: To donate books to every state and every country by the time she is 18.