Words by Smiley Team
Books are often an escape – a dive into a reality different than our own – and they can offer a sanctuary from what’s happening in the real world. To 18-year-old Emily Bhatnagar, that’s just what they were.
Growing up in an Indian immigrant family, Emily already felt like an outsider and used books to cope. Then in 2019, her father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and she dove headlong into reading to deal with her surrounding environment.
“It was the worst. It was like reliving it every single night, like nightmares and panic attacks,” Emily told CBS.
Since the love of reading helped her get through some of the hardest parts of her life, Emily wanted to share that love and started the book drive “For the Love and Buttercup.”
“I felt very left out and when I put it into perspective that there is a little kid out there who is so deserving of being happy,” she told WJLA, "it made me think of my younger self because books always made me happy so I said I am going to start a book drive.”