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Family beats NICU Holiday Book Drive donation goal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When Shecara Squires Reives and her husband, Thomas, got the idea to start their NICU Holiday Book Drive they wanted to help get families through a tough time similar to their own back in 2017.

That year, they spent 165 days in the newborn intensive care unit with their son Carmine after his twin, Rook, died in the hospital. Carmine had an uphill battle that included five surgeries including a tracheostomy. Finally, they brought Carmine home right before Thanksgiving.

Carmine’s journey and his love for reading inspired them to create more books that tell the stories of kids who have been through unique experiences and spotlight those children in a positive way. Shecara decided to write some herself starting with the children’s book “Trach Baby.”

In 2020, they started a publishing Rook’s Books LLC. decided to host their first NICU Book Drive collecting books from friends and family that wanted to help their effort to provide books for families in central Indiana hospitals in celebration of National Family Caregivers Month.

In 2021, they gave the community a challenge of helping them gather 1,500 books. When the drive was over they collected a little more than 2,000.

The Reives family stopped by the “All Indiana” studio on Tuesday to talk more about their inspiration and the community helping them smash their original goal for this year’s book drive.

The couple plans soon will take a break for the remainder of the holiday season before jumping into the next project. Shecara said, after the break, more books are definitely on the way.