March 3, 2022
Each children’s book title purchased from Read for a Cause benefits a different local charity.
“I launched Read for a Cause in September 2019,” Pickerington author Jill Boone said. “I make a profit of about $1.15 per book. All of that is given back to partner charities. I know I’ll never move mountains with that kind of profit, but I always try to keep in mind one of my favorite quotes whenever negative thinking creeps in: ‘Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little,’ – Edmund Burke. That’s what I’m trying to do. A little good.”
When Boone first approached her partner charities (The Brockstrong Foundation, Community for New Direction, Sam’s Fans, Home for Families, Home for Families, Camp Kesem, Camp Oty’Okwa) she was “very honest”.
“I told them that I probably wasn’t going to be their biggest donor. I run this program on the side, by myself, without any formal publisher or marketing team. So, I’m just doing the best I can. But it’s about more than the money. I consider myself a ‘brand ambassador’ of all of these organizations.
I share their social media content and events. I talk about the good work they’re doing, and I include their missions and logos on my content as much as I can. It’s as much about amplifying their work and increasing their audience as it is about the financial donations.”
Boone, who is an attorney by day, originally hand-wrote books as baby shower gifts for friends who were expecting. These gifts she illustrated herself with stick figures. At one of the showers, someone mentioned that they really loved the story and asked Boone to consider publishing them, professionally.
“I laughed it off and told them that I loved my day job (which is true) and had no desire to seek out a commercial publisher,” Boone said. “But then I started to wonder whether I could use my books to combine two of my passions: promoting childhood literacy and giving back to the world however you can.
I was nervous about even saying the idea out loud: it sounded so daunting. After all, I had two young kids, a busy job, and a lot on my plate. And I knew the project would take a lot of time, energy and money. But thank goodness for my husband, Sean. I have to give him a lot of credit, as he is probably the biggest reason Read for a Cause is an actual thing and not still an idea in my head. Because despite being a relatively confident and self-assured person, I was so nervous and insecure about the idea. When I finally had the courage to pitch Read for a Cause to him, it probably would’ve only taken one question or moment of doubt on his part to put the idea on indefinite hold. But instead, he didn’t skip a beat and said something like: ‘That sounds like a really cool idea… and if you want to do it, I know you can.’”
But it was a long process.
“I worked for a year figuring out all of the logistics… the illustrators, the ISBN numbers, the printing platforms, who I wanted to partner with, et cetera. And I didn’t tell anyone. I wanted it to be my thing without pressure or timelines or expectations from anyone else. And then in September 2019, I launched the program.
I am still so thankful for my husband’s support. I pride myself on being a strong independent female, but I couldn’t do this without him. He encourages me to do more, supports me however he can, and is really my rock through it all.”
Boone has always loved to read and write.
“I credit a lot of that to the encouragement I received from my parents,” she said. “When I was younger, I would staple pieces of paper together and write and draw books. I believe my love for reading and writing led me to be successful in school and ultimately my career.
Words are so powerful. We started reading to our kids before they were even born… my husband would literally read to them in my belly. And we haven’t stopped since. To this day, it is one of my favorite things to do with them. They are usually going non-stop and full of energy, but they will never say ‘no’ to pausing and snuggling up with a book.
There are books in every room of our house: our living room, our playroom, our bedroom, their bedrooms… everywhere. And we read at least one book every night before bedtime, no matter what. In the age of tablets, electronics and constant distractions, I strongly believe that a parent’s commitment to reading to their children is more important than ever… not just academically, but for the mutual benefit of undivided attention and quality time with each other.”
Boone is proud to have silenced her insecurities and put herself out there.
“It’s hard!” she said. “For anyone else who has convinced themselves that their idea isn’t good enough or big enough – stop lying to yourself! If the only person telling you that you can’t do it is yourself, then the truth is that you can. A drop is still a drop, and any good is still good. The world needs you!
One of the greatest unanticipated blessings of starting the program has also been the people I have met along the way. My day job can be dark and heavy but Read for a Cause has connected me with so many rays of light: good people trying to do good things for the right reasons. Whether through my partner organizations or my Literacy Champion spotlights, the people I have met along this journey have continually refilled my proverbial cup. There is good in the world, and they always serve as reminders of that. I am undoubtedly a better person because of them.”
Boone has been married to her husband Sean for nine years and the couple have two sons – Cam is four and Austin (who is called by his middle initial “G”) is six. The family also has two rescue dogs (“our oldest children”): Gypsy, who is 15, and Chief, who is 13.
All of the books by Read for a Cause are available on Amazon for $8.00 each and are eligible for Prime shipping.