A Girl Scout built mini libraries in hospitals so parents can read to their premature babies

  • A Georgia Girl Scout and her baby brother were both born prematurely. Their father read to both of them when they were in the NICU.
  • Now a teenager, she decided to build mini libraries in local hospitals so parents of premature babies can read to them.
  • She collected hundreds of books and was awarded the Girl Scout's second highest honor.
  • The books also help the new parents learn how to talk to their newborns.
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A Girl Scout who was born prematurely is now building miniature libraries so parents can read to their newborns in neonatal intensive care units, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported in January.

Anouskha Talwar, 14, and her 6-year-old brother Shiv both spent time in the NICU after they were born. Every day, Anoushka's father would sit beside her incubator reading stories, when Shiv was born, she would read to him.

"I saw pictures of him sitting next to the incubator that I was in, just trying to be with me," Anouskha told CNN. "And that is really important, and so I wanted to help other parents connect with their premature babies."

Since the Girl Scouts were founded in 1912, their slogan has been "Do a good turn daily." Aside from earning badges and selling cookies, Girl Scouts engage in community service, using the skills they learn to help make the world a better place.

For her Girl Scout project, Anouskha decided to start collecting children's books — hardcover because they're easier to disinfect — and built small libraries in local hospitals.

Every day, she would go door-to-door asking people if they had books to donate. She collected hundreds, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Anoushka worked with the March of Dimes to place a library in the NICU at the Scottish Rite Hospital of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and another one in the NICU for the Emory Johns Creek Hospital. The paperback books were put into care packages for parents to take home.

She was awarded the "Girl Scout Silver award," the second-highest honor a Girl Scout can receive.

Christine Wollenhaup, director of Women's Services at Emory Johns Creek, told the Journal-Constitution that the books Anoushka collected "will assist parents in getting used to speaking to their babies."

"Babies that receive loving words have double the vocabulary of those who did not – by the time they reach five years of age," Wollenhaup said.

Read the original story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

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