A treasure of keys to unlock new worlds

By Sarah Nabulsi

Every door has a lock, and every lock needs a key, so if books were doors to countless new worlds, then Leen Abu Khadra certainly has the keys.

The sugary, musky scent of books is a familiar scent for Leen who savours the moments when she can delve between the velvety covers of books and swim amidst their words and sentences. Leen is always fully submerged within their folds which cocoon her as though the pages of those books are a second layer of skin.

Old fashioned reading beats screen reading

Yet despite her strong passion for reading, Leen could never find someone to discuss books with. Everyone seemed to be cloaked in the flickering lights coming from their phones and although some do read books on their electronic devices, Leen was determined to bring back reading to printed hardcopy books. “I want to spread and share the goodness that is inherent in reading books the old fashion way,” she says eagerly.

Book Rush Bookshelves

Leen, a tenth grader, initiated a project she named Book Rush Bookshelves which places bookshelves filled with books around Amman. “Reading is one of my favourite hobbies and I always wanted to share my passion for reading with others,” she expresses. Through her project, Leen is attracting teenagers to her bookcases and inspiring them to become, as she mentions, “full time avid book readers”.

These bookshelves are home to various books such as The Hunger Games, The Kite Runner and The Book Thief. All which were selected based on online recommendations as well as suggestions from her based on her target audience: 13 to 17 year olds.

With her eyes set on the future, Leen plans on expanding her project further by placing additional bookshelves in new locations and adding books for adult audiences as well. She also hopes she can implement her project in other cities in Jordan such as Aqaba and Irbid.

The world at your fingertips

Leen’s project has provided us with books. Books with velvety covers and sweetly scented pages that engulf us in thousands of new worlds that Leen has the keys to. And now we can too.   

Leen’s favourite book

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine about a girl (Caitlin) with Asperger syndrome coping with the loss of her brother. In her search for closure, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white; the world is full of colours – messy and beautiful. The author describes Asperger syndrome as “characterised by awkwardness in social interaction, pedantry in speech and preoccupation with very narrow interests”.

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