If you look hard enough, you can find just about anything on YouTube: hair and makeup tutorials, movie trailers, music videos, original shorts and TV shows, viral prank videos, adorable animals doing even more adorable things. The list goes on and on and includes a lot of everyday people trying to find their five minutes of fame, but one special kid is using the platform for a truly good reason: this little girl reads books to sick children on YouTube, and her videos will warm your frozen heart.
Earlier this year, eight-year-old Shira Josephson began her training to become a junior ambassador at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, a volunteer role for kids and teens who want to help raise money and awareness for the hospital and its life-saving activities. While touring the facility, she learned about one part of the hospital that she just couldn't stop thinking about: the ward for children that were too sick to leave their rooms or see any visitors. Josephson felt so bad for the children who were too ill to even go to the hospital's reading room that she decided to take matters into her own hands and created a fun way to cheer up and connect with kids who were otherwise confined to their beds: Shira's Story Corner.
Launched in May, Shira's Story Corner is a YouTube channel run by Josephson and her mother, actress Brooke Josephson, that features over 30 videos of the eight-year-old reading a wide variety of fun children's stories to sick kids in Los Angeles and, she hopes, around the world. The short videos show Josephson, an adorable little blonde with an infectious smile, comfortably propped up in her reading chair and surrounded by cute and fuzzy stuffed animals as she narrates books to her audience, tells jokes, and shares stories. The videos feature variety of fun and entertaining kids books, from timeless classics like The Paper Bag Princess, The Cat in the Hat, and Paddington to new favorites like Pinkalicious, Knuffle Bunny, and Pete the Cat.
Not only are the videos fun and friendly, but they are informative, too. If Josephson finds a word she doesn't know, like so many young children learning how to read so often do, she pauses her story time to record it on a chalkboard she uses to later look things up. In honor holidays and special occasions, Shira's Story Corner posts themed videos, including a Thanksgiving story roundup and a Hanukkah special that features the young Josephson giving a special performance of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel." In a recent video, Josephson even had an extra special guest, actor Peter Serafinowicz who plays the titular character in Amazon's original The Tick. When she isn't busy choosing themed books or reading from classics, Josephson even takes requests from children and her parents who want to see their own favorites featured on Shira's Story Corner. In each video, the 8-year-old really tries to connect with her audience who she wants to enjoy reading as much as she does.
According to her mother, Josephson has always had a passion for reading and learning. “We would read to her every night before she went to bed. That’s all she’s ever known,” she told People. “Once she was able to read, she just took to it. She’s in a couple of book clubs where they once a month send her books. She’ll go through those, and then ask for more books to read right after!”
Since May, Shira's Story Corner has posted about a video a week, and shows no sign of stopping. As the little girl herself explained to People, she wants the kids at Children's Hospital Los Angeles to know she is there for them. "I will do everything I can to make the videos special for you, so you don’t feel alone.”
Did your heart just grow three sizes, because I know mine did.