By Cindy Hsu

KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a teenager from New Jersey who has been checking out books from the library since she was tiny. Now in eighth grade, she’s spreading her love of books and reading throughout her community.

Sofia Matos is a true book lover and got her first library card when she was just 3 years old.

“They just transport you to a whole other world. They are so wonderful to read it … it takes away all your worries for a couple hours while you’re reading,” Sophia told CBS2’s Cindy Hsu on Thursday.

There were books from the East Rutherford Memorial Library that needed to go.

“We actually have to withdraw books that are not circulating so we make room for new books. During this time of COVID, there was a lot of time to do that,” the library’s Maria Russo said.

MOREAt Floyd Memorial Library In Greenport, Learning Never Stops

Sofia heard about the nearly 200 extra books and decided to sort them in her garage, by reading level, and then she put the word out to teachers, parents and children in her community that she had books to give.

“Some of them are like brand new. They said they had never been taken out,” Sofia said.

Her mom, Marta Ogrodnik, instilled the love of books in her daughter when she was a baby. She started collecting them during her baby shower.

“Instead of cards, I asked people to give me books. So until this day, I still have books that are written out to the baby with a little inscription,” Ogrodnik said.


Even now, as a 13-year-old, Sofia has no interest in reading stories on a screen.

“When you have a physical book you feel more transported and you feel a lot different than when you’re just reading it off of it. You feel connected to the story,” Sofia said.

MORENew York Public Library Shares Top 5 Most Checked-Out Books On 125 Anniversary

She said she’s hoping others will start cherishing books as much as she does, and find a way to keep passing along the stories.

“Don’t throw them out because there are people out there that want the books and just can’t buy them. So try and donate them or maybe even give them to a library so they can put them in circulation,” Sofia said.

In case you are wondering what Sofia’s favorite book is, right now it’s “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

As far as her future, Sofia said she wants to pursue a career in something that will help the community, because, in her words, “We have to take action if we want change.”

CBS2’s Cindy Hsu contributed to this report

Cindy Hsu