Nine-year-old Khloe Joiner’s mission to give away 1 million books

To celebrate Black History in February, CNBC + Acorn’s Invest in You: Ready. Sentence. Grow. focuses on ordinary Americans investing in neighborhoods, schools and small businesses to create a better financial future.

In January, CNBC asked readers to nominate people in their communities who are making game-changing changes.

Khloe Joiner’s A Book and A Smile aims to give away a million books.

Four-year-old Khloe Joiner feared the motorcycle-riding police officer she saw in her hometown of Missouri City, Texas while riding in a car with her grandmother, Billye Moutra. But Moutra didn’t want her granddaughter to live in fear of the police despite everything history of police violence against African Americans. So she set up a meeting between Joiner and Officer Jessica Berry, who had the beautiful braids that caught Joiner’s eye that day in 2016.

From this meeting A book and a smile was born with a mission to strengthen ties between the community and law enforcement, using books as currency to help troubled kids in police encounters. Joiner took the $141 in change she saved for a trip to Disneyland to buy more than a hundred books, which were then donated to the police department to give to children.

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Joiner, now nine, has given away 15,000 books, expanding her reach beyond police departments. To get books right into the hands of children, she makes donations to hospitals, adoption agencies, and many other organizations, including those where age restrictions prohibit her direct participation, such as home insecurity shelters.

She still hasn’t made it to Disneyland, but continues to donate, forgoing birthday parties to host book trips and buying books with the $100 gift card, which earned her a Time magazine Child of the Year finalist received in 2022. When asked why she does so much community service, Joiner replies, “Volunteering makes my heart smile.”

dream big

Joiner’s goal is to give away one million books because she believes books provide education, a valuable gift that can open doors to other opportunities. To reach the million book mark, A Book and A Smile is running smaller book drives, like this month’s goal to collect and give away 1,000 books about cultural diversity.

Volunteering makes my heart smile.

Khloe Joiner

A book and a smile

Joiner is already nearing this milestone just days into the month and is eyeing the next goal of 1,000 children’s books to teach kids how to save and invest.

“It’s one thing that there aren’t many in school libraries or that kids are exposed to,” says Moutra, who is excited to find books that not only teach kids the basics of short-term saving, but also long-term ones Time savings, compound interest and share purchases.

Teach kids about personal finance Help students avoid payday loans, limit student loans and credit card debt, and lead to higher credit scores. Experts say this can also be achieved through increasing financial literacy help close the racial wealth gapwhere the average white family has eight times the wealth of the average black family, according to data collected by the federal reserve.

CNBC recognizes Khloe Joiner as Face of Change for her work to improve the world book by book.

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