The Golden Book Project


Babken Mkhitaryan

Golden Book project leaders Amna Fadel, Nicole Tokatlian, Raeesah Alam, and Sarin Khatcherian host their last book fair at Horace Mann Elementary School on April 22, 2023.

Expressing their passion of reading through community service projects, Book Club and Review Club officers Amna Fadel, Nicole Tokatlian, Sarin Khatcherian, and Raeesah Alam worked as leaders for the Golden Book Project to ensure that elementary and middle schoolers are provided the opportunity to own books. 

In February, Clark’s Book Club and Review Club hosted a book drive and collected over 500 books. They donated these books to a nonprofit organization called “The Book Truck,” which collected all the young-adult-level books and spread them around to children who need it. After the donation, there were still over 300 children’s books left, which is when junior Amna Fadel decided to start the Golden Book Project, in which the group hosted book fairs at multiple elementary schools in GUSD. To accommodate, Fadel applied for a grant, which the members decided to put toward buying reading resources to make bookmarks, reading log sheets, certificates, pencils, and more books for the kids to have a whole reading kit.

Elementary school student waits for his sibling to pick out his book at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School as he sits and reads his new books. Photographer: Amna Fadel

The Glendale Educational Foundation (GEF) provided high school students a chance to carry out their passion projects by giving out grants, and out of fifty-five students, Fadel won a $1,000 grant with her project idea. In order to receive the grant, Fadel had to give a presentation to the GEF and explain how the project worked, what her intentions were with the money, and she had to agree to spend it by the end of this school year. However, Fadel plans on lengthening her grant deadline. “I’d like to extend it until next year and use it to start a nonprofit organization, similar to the Golden Book Project, to continue helping others,” Fadel said.

Starting April 8th, the leaders and a few volunteers went to a different elementary school every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. During this time, books collected and bought with the grant money were given out to the students of the elementary school. Book marks and review sheets to rate and review books were also passed out in the reading folders that the four Golden Book Project officers had made. The schools the group hosted at were Lincoln Elementary, Verdugo Hills Elementary, Mark Keppel Elementary, and Horace Mann Elementary. Initially, they limited the books to one per person, but eventually, they realized they were fortunate enough to have too many books and allowed children to pick and choose more than one, leaving many kids with a new little-library to take home, along with a smile. 

“It was truly the best feeling seeing young kids become so excited as they took home books of their choice. As avid readers ourselves, we understood their joy and smiles and it only drove the passion to do more projects like this with Amna, Raeesah, and Nicole,” Book Club co-president Sarin Khatcherian said. The group shared this happiness amongst each other. “I loved seeing kids of different ages interested in getting all these new books,” Book Club co-president Raeesah Alam said, “They were so adorable and enthusiastic about reading, and it was exciting helping them choose books.”