4 Books that Inspire Service


Charles Jones famously said, “In five years you will be the same person as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

I have found his words to be true in my life. I may be biased as an English teacher, but I have found few things as life-changing as books. When we immerse ourselves in words that inspire, our thoughts change, and, eventually, our actions change as well. When I decided that I really wanted to start serving more with my kids, I started spending time with others who serve (hence, the club), and I started reading books about service. And, guess what? I’ve been serving more with my family. Yes!

So, if you are interested, join our club (or start your own), and check out a few of the books that I’ve been reading. Enjoy!

  1. The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering by Jenny Friedman: This book is SUPER helpful. It is organized by category (serving the earth, serving those suffering from illness, etc), and it has a ton of practical resources like book recommendations and links. I read this one first, and it was a great one to start with.
  2. 77 Creative Ways Kids Can Serve by Sondra Clark: I like this book because Sondra, the author, wrote it at the age of 18, and she has a lot of experience serving as a young person. She gives lots of great ideas (77 to be exact), along with explaining what you will need and the easy steps to follow. One ideas she mentions is to fill “Bedtime Snack Bags” for kids at homeless shelters.
  3. I Like Giving by Brad Formsma: This one has been my favorite so far. The premise of the book is the fact that living a generous life can transform your life. He talks about looking for needs and creatively finding way to meet them. It is less about doing “service projects” and more about living to give. My favorite thing about this book is that he includes a lot of specific stories about how people have done this, and it is super inspiring. This book will change the way you look at life!
  4. How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist by Nicole Bouchard Boles: This book has 330 ideas about how to make a difference, and all of them are free! She talks about little things like clicking on charitable links as well as big things like using your talents to help people in need. This book is extremely practical and gives ideas on how we can use everything we have (our computers, our bodies, our talents, our families, etc. to change the world). Good stuff!

 I know this list will grow soon. My husband has already given me a hard time about how many service book have been arriving on our doorstep. But I agree with Charles Jones. I know that I don’t want to be the same person in five years, I want to allow people and books to change me, and I hope you do too!



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