Anoushka Talwar weighed only 2.2 pounds when she was born prematurely at 27 weeks. Now a Girl Scout, the 14-year-old carries no ill-effects from her ordeal, but remembers stories about her birth. Babies born extremely early cannot be held by their parents, but must remain in an incubator in the hospital's neonatal ICU. In Georgia, where Anoushka lives, parents of premies are encouraged to talk, sing, or read aloud to their children.
Wishing to help other premies inspired Anoushka to go door-to-door in her Atlanta neighborhood, asking for donations for children's books for the neonatal ICUs of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Johns Creek Hospital. These books would be available for parents who wish to read to their children. She hoped to collect 100 books but soon amassed 450. This allowed her to create two mini-libraries at the hospitals, and win a Silver Award, the second-highest honor in Girl Scouts.