Books For Africa Founder Tom Warth to Walk 60 Miles to Celebrate 50 Millionth Book Sent to Africa

Books For Africa (BFA) Founder Tom Warth, 84, began a 60-mile walk June 6 from the Taylors Falls Library to the BFA warehouse in St. Paul to raise money for the group, which hopes to ship its 50 millionth book to Africa this year.

Warth started the solo walk at 10:30 a.m. at the Taylors Falls Library, 473 Bench St, Taylors Falls, MN 55084, the state’s oldest library.  The book he is carrying, Kofi Loves Music by Dr. Artika Tyner, is the symbolic 50 millionth book. It is the story about a Ghanaian child learning about traditional Ghanaian instruments. It will be shipped from the warehouse in St. Paul to the warehouse in Atlanta and then via ship from the Port of Savannah to Ghana.

Over the years Warth has walked more than 2,000 miles to raise funds for BFA, which he founded in 1988. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for his 70th birthday. He celebrated his 80th birthday by walking across Zanzibar Island in Africa and has also walked across The Gambia. Closer to home, Warth, of Marine-on-the-St. Croix, has walked across Minnesota, Wisconsin and from the Canadian border to Iowa. And he has hiked up Eagle Mountain on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

“I love to hike even though I’m not as young as I used to be,” Warth said. “But I always think of the children of Africa. While we have made progress towards ending the book famine, we still have a lot of work to do. There are more than 500 million children in Africa. That is a lot of kids who need books and who need an education. Our work is not done.”

Warth emigrated to the U.S. from the United Kingdom in 1960. He sold his car book publishing company in Osceola, Wisconsin, in 1988 and went on a journey around the world. He visited a small library in Jinja, Uganda, the source of the great Nile River. The shelves were mostly empty so Warth had the idea to do something that would have an impact on the students of Africa: end the book famine. It became the mission of Books For Africa, which has sent nearly 50 million books to all 55 countries on the continent since Warth’s visit 32 years ago to the library in Uganda.

For more information on the walk, check out our Facebook page and our Mighty Cause page!