Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Arms Full of Books!

We are so pleased to have hosted another group of Big Brothers/Big Sisters participants. Yesterday was our third group this month. It was a fun event and the kids picked out as many books as they could carry. Pictured here is Freya, who filled he backpack and had another armload as well. That’s what we like to see! A true book lover.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book It Program Brings Book Shelves to Springfield

Reader to Reader is proud to be a sponsor of Square One’s Book It! program.

The program places book shelves with free children’s books throughout Springfield, MA, and gave away over 5,000 books in the first two months.

The book shelves are located in gas stations, early education and child care facilities, and a host of other locations that reach low-income families. Children are able to keep the books, and book ownership has a direct link on reading proficiency and academic achievement. Reader to Reader is providing hundreds of children’s books, and is pleased to join the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, Link to Libraries, and Health New New England as program sponsors.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reader To Reader Partners With Anthropologie

This holiday season Reader to Reader is pleased to partner with Anthropologie, a specialty lifestyle retailer that offers an uncommon selection of home and apparel merchandise, to help stock the bookshelves of our nation's neediest schools and public libraries.

Visit Anthropologie online to purchase delightful children’s books that will be delivered directly to Reader to Reader.

Throughout December, select Anthropologie stores will be hosting reading hours for children, as well as book drives in support of Reader to Reader and other outstanding local charities—won't you join them in the merrymaking?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Books For Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County visited Reader to Reader yesterday and all the kids had a fun time picking out as many books as they wanted. They were delighted to have books that they could keep. We were delighted to have them visit, and that they were excited about books!

What could be better than your arms full of books!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Books Heading to Haiti

Nancy Marshall, a volunteer with First Church in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, is heading down to Haiti with 260 French-language children’s books that Reader to Reader collected.

The First Church has for a number of years supported a 6 story office/school/clinic building run by CONASPEH (Conseuil Natianale d’Eglises Sprirtuel d’Ayiti (National Council of Spiritual Churches of Haiti) in the Tabarre section of Port-au-Prince. The building was destroyed in last January’s earthquake. Thankfully, none of the school’s 600 pre-school through 12th grade students were in the building at the time of the quake, however, 14 nurses, several staff and others were killed.

The building is now being rebuilt, and Nancy Marshall provides an overview of the importance of CONASPEH’s library.

“The feather in CONASPEH’s cap was that it had a whole, real, library. In all the times I’ve been to Haiti, I never saw any other library anywhere, nor did I ever see a book store. Classes are taught by rote; i.e. the teacher has a book, from which (s)he teaches, but the students don’t have books. At first, the books I donated just stayed in the CONASPEH library, and were proudly shown off to visitors. It took a bit of careful teacher education and encouragement with the primary school principal to accomplish loaning each classroom teacher a basket of books for a month, and to let the youngsters peruse one a day as a reward, and then get a new bunch of books the next month. The youngsters love them and are so proud of the books! Also, selected high school seniors were taught and entrusted with “library duty” (in return for scholarship funding) during which time they sat at the library entrance and monitored students and adults who visited the library and could use any book, for as long as they stayed in the library. At first, as I’ve said, all of the books were housed in the Tabarre building, for show, but as the library grew and the teachers and students learned to love books, the pastors/teachers in the smaller outlying parishes began to beg for books. So the need for books is ever growing!

Books have not been allowed to go home with students or adults, because books are “hard to come by” and therefore, expensive. Even if a child promised to bring back the book, someone else might take it and sell it, because one can eat quite a few meals for the price of a book. It has been about 4 years since I’ve been bringing books-in-French to CONASPEH, and in that four years, books have gone from being “those revered things up on the top floor” to something they love and cherish and use. It will be a while before the lending library concept can be implemented in Port-au-Prince, but know that a growing number of children there are learning to love books because of CONASPEH, and because of Reader to Reader!

The 6 story building was leveled January 12 and it was weeks before all the bodies and rubble was sorted through and disposed of. We received a proud email in March telling us triumphantly that there were a number of books that were salvaged, so they at least had a small start on replenishing the library. From where else but Haiti would you hear such a story? Classes began again in April on the CONASPEH grounds in huge tents, and work is just now commencing on rebuilding the building, thanks to contributions from all over the US and Canada. Many people prefer to donate to CONASPEH and CRUDEM because they know the people and know the money is going straight into use by honest Haitian people, with no middleman agency.

If you can ever hear of a nursing program that is replenishing their French text books, those are a top desire – they’re expensive and hard to come by.

Our group will return to CONASPEH in mid-November 2010 and we always ask what they wanted us to bring in the 2 fifty pound suitcases we’re each allowed to bring --- guess what they said --- BOOKS!!!!!

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU ! ! ! “

Nancy Marshall, PhD, OTR/L

Monday, November 8, 2010

Win This Beautiful Artwork!

Reader to Reader is raffling this beautiful, original watercolor, “Story Works Mouse,” by award-winning artist Wendell Minor.

Proceeds will benefit Reader to Reader’s effort to rebuild the Mesa Elementary School library, which was destroyed by arson on September 12, 2010.

This piece, with a value of $2,500, has been beautifully framed courtesy of Valley Frame Works.

Drawing will be December 15. The perfect gift for the holidays!

Tickets are $20 each and 3 for $50.

You can enter the raffle online by writing “raffle” on the online donation page. Tickets can be purchased by mail by mailing a check to:

Reader to Reader Raffle
Cadigan Center
38 Woodside Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Fun, Free Event For Book Lovers Young & Old!

Join Us At The 21st Annual Children's Illustration Show

Please join us on Sunday, November 7, for a special Reader to Reader event honoring Wendell Minor for his devotion to literacy at the 21st Annual Children's Illustration Show.

This fun, free event features over 50 premier picture book illustrators and authors.

Sunday, November 7, 4pm - 6pm

R. Michelson Galleries
132 Main Street
Northampton, MA

(Admission is free)

Meet famous children's illustrators and join us as we present author and illustrator Wendell Minor with the Norton Juster Award for devotion to literacy.

Refreshments generously donated by Portabella Fine Foods, Whole Foods Market, and Big Y World Class Market.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Computers! Computers! Computers!

Kat Libby shows off a stack of computers that will be heading overseas to the Eno Boanimah Memorial Academy of Kasoa, Ghana.

The school was started in September of 2009, and Reader to Reader is helping the school set up a resource center which includes a library and computer lab.

The refurbished computers were donated by Amherst College and were refurbished thanks to the IT department.