Trent Litman sits among piles of books collected to be given to patients at Akron Children's Hospital. Contributed photo.

Trent Litman sits among piles of books collected to be given to patients at Akron Children’s Hospital. Contributed photo.

Trent Litman has always loved National Read Across America Day.

As a student at Sharpsville Elementary School and then Badger schools, Trent enjoyed the story times, character parades and story-writing competitions that the schools held that day. Added with his parents, Sarah and Tom, reading to him when he was little, it fostered his love of reading.

Now a junior at Cardinal Mooney High School, Trent wants to pass on the love of reading – something he said is waning in his generation – to younger kids, especially those who do not get to experience National Read Across America Day in school. For two years, Trent has held a book drive at his church, First Presbyterian Church in Sharon, and donated the collected books to Akron Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a project just to help kids who have to miss out on Read Across America Day, and already have to miss out on a lot of things,” said Trent, of Hartford. “This is just something they can look forward to and something to cheer up their situation.”

The first year, he collected about 325 children’s and teen books. This year, he collected 520.

“Amazing,” he said of the response he has had to his book drives. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. Very happy.”

The hospital does not stock a library. The children who select books get to keep them, Trent said.

“Since COVID, they’re not allowed to share books,” he said.

Trent is given time during a church service to talk about his collection effort, but church parishioners are starting to sense when it’s time.

“I get people asking,” he said. “I get donations way before.”

The idea seems to be spreading. Friends have talked to him about starting book drives in their own churches, and he has considered a book drive at school. With the young people in his church offering to help with the book drive, he could see one of them taking it over someday, he said.

“I want to make it pretty big,” Trent said. “I really like it. I think it has a good effect on a lot of people.”

Read Cross American Day is held March 2 each year.