Turning New Pages: Amanda Cooper

Amanda Cooper wanted to share her love of books with other girls, and so partnered with the Moorestown Library to create the Girls Love to Read Program.

Amanda Cooper, founder of the Girls Love to Read Program at Moorestown Library.
Amanda Cooper, founder of the Girls Love to Read Program at Moorestown Library.
Photo by John Emerson

“When I was younger, none of my friends really liked to read,” says Amanda Cooper. “I wanted to change that.” Cooper’s love of reading is deeply rooted in her home life. As a child, she watched in awe as her mother, Karen, held book clubs with her friends. When she was 10, Cooper asked her mom if she could start her own book club. It seemed like a great idea—save for one problem. Cooper had trouble finding other girls who shared her passion for books. “Kids weren’t interested,” she recalls.

Undaunted, Cooper reached out to Jennifer Dunne, the children’s librarian at Moorestown Library. Her idea was to partner with the library for a Girls Love to Read program.

Within a year, the program was up and running. The first book Cooper chose for the group was Fancy Nancy Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor. She says she picked that book for its “very feminine and positive” main character.

Still, it was a challenge to grab the attention of the first, second and third graders in the group. To bring the book to life, Cooper—then in sixth grade—brought in boas and jewelry to play dress up. She even organized a scavenger hunt for interactive, hands-on fun.

Five years later, Cooper—now a high school freshman—can proudly say Girls Love to Read is a hit. She usually has to cap the quarterly programs at 12 to 15 girls.

Cooper has also partnered with We Love to Read, a similar reading program sponsored by Urban Promise, a Christian outreach initiative that provides a safe haven for Camden children and young adults.

For Cooper, it’s a thrill to inspire young girls to get into books. “Maybe reading,” she says, “can take them places they didn’t think they could go.”

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