More

Love books? These 12 tiny libraries might steal your heart.

Because everyone should have a book to read.

Love books? These 12 tiny libraries might steal your heart.

Have you spotted one of these in your neighborhood?

A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on


It's cute, huh? Sort of like an oversized, adorable mailbox you'd see in a fairytale but with books inside.


They're called Little Free Libraries. And they're popping up everywhere.

Any passerby can drop by, pick up a book that piques their interest, and then return a different book they'd like to share. Take a book, give a book, basically!

The coolest part? Anyone can start one. All you have to do is fill a box with some page-turners in a place that's accessible to the folks you want to share with (i.e., your front yard). The box can be built from scratch or purchased.

Then the magic begins!

A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on


The nonprofit responsible for these charming boxes — named Little Free Library, naturally — has experienced an explosion of interest around its idea. (Seriously, I know explosion sounds dramatic, but the numbers will back me up here.)

Since Little Free Library got off the ground five years ago, 28,000 boxes have sprung up across the globe!

Little Free Libraries are in every American state, every Canadian province, and in 80 other countries around the world. In fact, Little Free Library told Upworthy there's about 40 million books in circulation through their boxes. (And that's a modest estimation.)

A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on
A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on
A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on

This is a simple idea that has a huge effect on kids.

Books are hard to come by for kids in some neighborhoods around the U.S. — and that's putting it lightly. A study published in 2001 found that while each kid in a middle-income area had an average 13 books at their disposable, as few as one book was available for every 300 kids in low-income neighborhoods.

Those book deserts can play a big role in shaping young people's lives, according to Kristine Huson, director of marketing and communications at Little Free Library.

"[Reading can be] the cornerstone to someone having a successful life," she said. That's why the organization works with schools and police departments that are focused on community engagement to put books into the hands of kids who otherwise may not get the chance to read for fun.

A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on
A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on
A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on

But don't fret, grownups: Little Free Libraries are for you, too!

While the nonprofit aims to make books more accessible for children, they are also quick to point out the benefits Little Free Libraries offer everyone. Reading, for example, can significantly reduce stress and ward off cognitive decline as we grow older, Huson said.

It can also act as a neighborhood icebreaker. In fact, one communal box of books can transform an entire neighborhood.

"People have said, 'I put a Little Free Library up, and I met more neighbors in a week than I've met in 10 years of home ownership,'" Huson said.

A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on
A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on
A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on


If you decide to build or buy your own Little Free Library, make it official through the organization. This way, your library will be added to the organization's world map, which pinpoints exactly where anyone can find a Little Free Library.

You'll also get a sweet charter sign confirming your library is part of the global network on top of other cool perks.

A photo posted by Little Free Library ® (@littlefreelibrary) on



Isn't it refreshing to know that even in a world with iPhones and flatscreens, sharing a copy of your favorite book can still make a big difference? *sigh*

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less