9 year old from Missouri City honored as Time Magazine Kid of the Year finalist

Khloe Joiner earns recognition for her project ‘A Book and a Smile’

MISSOURI CITY, Texas – Khloe Joiner exudes some serious girl power. From the young age of just 4 years old, Joiner has been on a mission to give the gift of reading through her project A Book and a Smile. Five years later, that mission is still going strong, and the now 9-year-old Joiner has racked up numerous accolades including being recognized as a Time Magazine Kid of the Year finalist.

“It started when I was maybe 4 years old. I developed a love for reading,” said Joiner.

In the virtual event, which aired on Nickelodeon in February and was hosted by Trevor Noah, Joiner was honored as a top 20 finalist for the work she has accomplished through A Book and a Smile. As a finalist, Joiner was awarded a $100 Visa gift card, which of course she immediately used to purchase more books.

“It was crazy. I was so happy. It was one of the best moments of my life, honestly. It was really fun,” said Joiner.

Through her project A Book and a Smile, Joiner aims to give 1 million books to 1 million kids in need. So far, with the help of family members like her mother Loretta Moutra and her grandmother Billye Moutra, Joiner has donated more than 15,000 books through various means including pop-ups, book drives and partnerships with local organizations like Texas Children’s Hospital and Star of Hope.

“It is a lot of work, but with everyone pitching in, it’s not easy, but it’s helpful,” said Joiner. “It goes by faster, and it’s really fun to do it with family.”

Earlier this year, after speaking at a virtual event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Joiner was inspired to start a new initiative called #1000DiverseBooksForChildren. Through the new initiative, Joiner is donating at least 1000 children’s books that showcase diversity and deal with topics of race to local schools. She wants teachers to have these books in their classrooms to help children understand the importance of diversity and inclusion.

“We thought that it would be nice to put kids in other kids’ shoes, so that would give them a hint, or like if they see other [different] people, maybe they’ll talk to them,” said Joiner.

If you’d like to help Khloe Joiner on her mission to provide 1 million books to 1 million kids, visit the A Book and a Smile website.

About the Author:

Olivia Kolanek is the Features Producer of KPRC 2's Houston Life. She joined the KPRC family in the summer of 2019 after working in non-profit communications for three years. She is passionate about creating content that features good people, good food or a good story. Olivia is a University of Houston alumna, Audible junkie and scuba novice.