Review of Zak the Yak by John Woods, founder of Room to Read

Zak The Yak

The book tells the story of a Yak who had enough courage to step up to the plate and do something to solve a problem that's been in front of us for a long time. When Zak heard about this he immediately thought of a way to help. The problem was that there wasn't enough books for the students. Zak thought that it was very wrong and that every child who wants to read should be able to. Zak decided that he needed assistance, he found people with money who were willing to help, he decided to run a book drive, Zak even sent hundreds of emails with his hooves! You can tell that someone is really passionate about something if they try to type with hooves.
Zak was accompanied by two assistants. Twelve years old Arul and friendly little Manju who is ten. Together they were set for the book drive. The three walked and walked despite the snow, icy winds, ran, and even hail! Noticing this, Zak shared his warmth with the two children and they bundled up on his back.
Zak and his friends collected many books from a man who climbed Everest and a book store owner. With the news spread throughout the streets, people soon came toward them carrying books. After three days they had five thousand one hundred books. They went back home, it took them three days and two nights but they arrived at last with their treasure for the students. They finally solved the problem!

I thought that it was very kind and selfless of Zak to devote his time to the students. Most people if they're presented with the problem they would just dismiss it and think “oh, it's been that way for a long time; there's nothing we can do to change it.” It takes courage to stand up and say “ I think this is wrong, it needs to change right now.” I noticed that Zak isn't just all muscles but he's very smart as well. Instead of just running to do it, he stopped and thought that he needed help. I remember hearing that it's important to know when you need help so that you get it. It's amazing how much a book can do to someone who wants and needs it. The children in the book were so happy to receive the books. I remember when reading books used to be a chore for me, I only started to appreciate books in 5th grade. I can connect to the part when two boys were inspired. Our class did various sales to fund raise for Room To Read, we liked the idea of helping other people get the things we have. Especially making people aware that we're fortunate to have books and how other students need something but can't get it due to poverty. I like the idea of youth helping youth, I think it really inspires other children because it shows them that you can make a difference through raising money for organizations. I think the organization is very efficient because they have people making the books in the country. This means that people get jobs, and they don't have to ship the books. I also agree with the fact that gender equality needs to be achieved because in some countries they only let males go to school. I hope Room to Read continues to help children get education because people may be too poor for education, but without education those people will always be poor.

This was written by Julia, a seventh grade student, with no editing from me.  Julia came to Canada from the Philippines in fifth grade.  She is a voracious reader as well as being president of our school's Students' Council, a member of our Me to We group, a Peer Helper, a Library Monitor, and an excellent athlete who participated in every school team this year, and an excellent student.  

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