GRAND PRIZE – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

Grand Prize Award – $2,500

Christopher McGilvery, “Teachers and Student Ambassadors Project”
Canyon, Texas

Supporting one another with the power of literacy. For Chris McGilvery, this is the story he wants to tell in his community. Through his work with The Leaders Readers Network, Chris engages teachers across the United States and Dominica to grow leadership and literacy skills for students. The project partners with teachers to facilitate “buddy” teams in which older students read aloud to younger students while also learning about the
effects of illiteracy.

To date, Chris and his team have trained 205 students, partnered with 215 teachers, and impacted over 55,000 students’ lives.

It is with great enthusiasm that we honor Chris McGilvery as the Grand Prize winner of the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award for his innovative, child-centered approach to foster a love of reading – and leadership! – for children across the United States.

“This award inspires me to continue to build and grow the important work we are doing to support education equity and literacy for all.”
                                                                                                   -Chris McGilvery

Videos

Slide Show

 

 

JUDITH’S AWARD – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

Judith’s Award – $1,500

Ty Allan Jackson, “Big Head Books”
Bronx, New York

Too often, children’s books represent non-white protagonists within a narrow range of topics.  Award-winning author Ty Allan Jackson writes highly engaging books that buck this tradition, offering children who don’t always see themselves in the stories they read the opportunity for a  different portrayal of their lives.

His books, including Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire and The Supadupa Kid superhero series, have garnered the attention of several awards and features on local and national news. More importantly, they have reached countless young Black and other minoritzed children with a powerful message:
your story is limitless.

We recognize Ty as winner of the 2020 Judith’s Award for his commitment to expanding narratives with his books.

“As an Indie author winning this award is a surreal experience. Awards usually go to the more established authors. The ones with the big followings and who dominate the bookshelves in bookstores and libraries across the county. Not the authors fighting to be noticed or begging bookstore to carry our works. So this award means that the little guy can make it. Get the accolade and gain the respect of the world of literature. But most importantly receive the love for those we write and draw for…our children. 

Thank you for proving that our work matters!
                                                                                                  -Ty Allan Jackson”

Video

Slide Show

 

 

BOARD OPTION PRIZES – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

Board Option Prize – $500

Charmaine Tsosie, “Chinle Planting Hope”
Navajo Nation, Chinle, Arizona

 

Through her organization, Chinle Planting Hope, Charmaine Tsosie works tirelessly for her Diné (Navajo) community to
create educational opportunities for whole families. She and her team will establish a mobile library vibrant with adult and
children’s’ books to inspire inter-generational reading habits among families who currently do not have access to a brickand-mortar library in Chinle. We warmly honor Charmaine with a Board Option Award to accelerate her work on the
mobile library.
“Winning the award is such an honor to my community and me. It feels like the Navajo Nation is seen and heard.”
                                                                                                           -Charmaine Tsosie

Board Option Prize – $500

Basarat Kazim, “Camel Library for Kech Balochistan”
Lahore, Pakistan

Bringing libraries to sparsely populated communities in Pakistan requires creativity. For Basarat Kazim, the solution wasn’t on four wheels, but four legs. Camels, outfitted with custom-made book pouches, will carry hundreds of books to the district of Kech Balochistan. This effort specifically focuses on young girls, who often don’t have opportunities to attend school in the district. We proudly award Basarat a Board Option Award to help establish the first-ever camel library.
“Your support provides opportunities to thousands of girls to access treasures untold!! May they find the keys to the locked doors that hold them back.”
                                                                     -BasaratKazim
 

An Amazing Update From Writing Through

Cathy Leiber recently spoke with Sue Guiney, a Runner-up Prize Winner in 2016, we still find it amazing on how our recognition matters for others “fighting” the battle of literacy all over the world.  Here is an update from Sue.

Four years in a life doesn’t seem like much. But in the lifetime of a non-profit, it can mean the difference between broken dreams and expanding horizons. In 2016, I was honored to receive a Judith’s Reading Room award for the work I had begun with my newly founded NGO, Writing Through. Still in our infancy, we were testing and developing our programs in Cambodia, using the writing of poems and stories to develop literacy and self-esteem in that tragic nation. At that time, I was full of dreams for growing my organization, but “the how” was still a mystery.

Much has happened over the past four years. Between 2016 and 2019, Writing Through expanded to include working with over twenty organizations throughout Cambodia, and then into Singapore, and then Vietnam. We were reaching hundreds of students, young adults and adults alike, throughout the region with a staff of 1.5 and nearly 50 volunteers. Plus, I had realized that the workshops we were running were accomplishing even more than literacy and self-esteem. It became clear to us all that Writing Through was actually using creative writing as a tool to develop thinking skills. Once our triumvirate of goals became clearer – Thinking Skills, Language Fluency, and Self-Esteem via Creative Writing – the demand for our programming grew, and so did our staff. There are now 3 of us who oversee it all, always also relying on our ever-growing global list of volunteers.

On a personal note, after living in London for 26 years, I repatriated back to the United States. The plan was to visit SE Asia twice a year and work remotely the rest of the time as CEO. During the first two years of moving back, that is exactly what I did. Then came 2020 and the pandemic.

We did not allow these troubled times defeat us, though. Actually, we used the skills we had been teaching to imagine new ways to deliver our programming, and we realized that CoVid and the necessity for online learning was, for us, an opportunity. Over this past spring and summer, we developed an online platform for our workshops. This immediately allowed us to reach people around the globe in a way we never could have imagined. A series of free, public workshops saw Zoom screens full of people from as far away as Mexico, to India, to Cambodia, to the US and Canada. And as our partners started needing online lessons, we were there to provide them. Because of online programming, we have not only further expanded our list of partners in SE Asia, but we have also begun US pilot programs in Pennsylvania, California and Massachusetts. And more is on the horizon.


The encouragement I received early on from Judith’s Reading Room helped me believe I was on the right track. It helped me believe that I could accomplish my goals and that there were many others in the world waiting to work with me. Through Writing Through, I have been able to prove what I have always known in my heart, namely that the arts, and especially the language arts, teach people how to think. Everyone in the world has the right to literacy of language and thought. Whether in person or online, Writing Through now helps marginalized and at-risk populations throughout the world learn these skills, wherever we are needed.

Sue Guiney, Founder and CEO www.writingthrough.org

Also see  2016 Freedom Through Literacy Runner-Ups

Books Purchased for Board Option Prize Winner, Charmaine Tsosie

Hello Erin, Charmaine and Amber,

Thank you so very much, Charmaine, for providing me with your “wish list” of book titles and some favorite authors to help you launch the Mobile Library for Chinle.  As you can imagine it was not easy to find all of them, but I did my very best thanks to the help of the Barnes & Noble manager who also made some fabulous recommendations.
 
Attached is the curated list of 63 books Judith’s Reading Room purchased yesterday based on your recommendations and input.  You will see that many of the books are Newbery Honor Books and John Newbery Medal winners.  I tried to get several books in series; I tried to get a good distribution of books:  boys/girls; younger kids/high school kids; graphic novels, too.  The total cost of the books was $640.  With our nonprofit discounts, the cost to Judith’s Reading Room was $504.  
 
Each book has a name plate identifying the book as having been donated by Judith’s Reading Room.  We have also enclosed 70 bookmarks.

 
On behalf of all of us with Judith’s Reading Room, once again please accept our sincere congratulations for winning one of the 2020 Board Option Prizes.  We look forward to working with you long into the future.
 
Best,
 
Cathy

News, News and more news from 2020 Grand Prize Winner

Congratulations to Chris McGilvery for meriting this coverage!!

Email from 2020 Grand Prize Winner Chris McGilvery!
Hi Cathy,

Hope you are having a good week. I am so honored to be the grand prize winner and represent Judith Krug’s legacy. What an honor. Please let the board know how appreciative I am and look forward to living out her legacy for my lifetime. 🙂 Have a great day!

***** see below for news links *****

Kindly, Chris McGilvery
Founder and Executive Director
www.leadersreadersnetwork.org

The news, news and more news….

From West Texas A&M University – Literacy Nonprofit Founded by WT Staffer Wins National Award

From myhighplains.com: Literacy Nonprofit Founded by WT Staffer Wins National Award

From News Channel 10: Nationally recognized Canyon-based literacy program taking application

10th Anniversary ‘Stand Out’ Library – Casa Guadalupe

To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, Judith’s Reading Room, a global literacy non-profit organization founded in 2010 kept good on its promise to bolster libraries it has donated over its 10 year history. 

Casa Guadalupe was selected as one of the 10 ’Stand Out’ libraries that Judith’s Reading Room selected to honor during our 10th Anniversary celebration.  The Board allocated a total of $5,000 to spend on books, for $500 each of the ten awardees.  In this case, we purchased 44 books valued at $513.




The theme for the donation is in honor of March being National Nutrition Month.  


Dawn Bush asked for terrific children’s books that would make fruit and vegetables fun for the children served at Casa.  Some of the books (Blueberries for Sal and Carrot Seed) were favorites of Cathy Leiber’s sons when they were little.
Sadly, our charitable donation is on hold because Casa Guadalupe (WIC) is closed so the nutritionists there are unable to receive our gift.  We will reschedule the donation when we get the “all clear” from the authorities.
 
Books Donated to Casa Guadalupe, Allentown, PA (Date Pending Coronavirus Update)
in celebration of the organization’s 10th Anniversary and in honor of National Nutrition Month

A is for Artichoke, A Foodie Alphabet from
  Artichoke to Zest, (2 copies)
Ahlberg, J., Each Peach Pear Plum
Brown, M.W., The Runaway Bunny
Byrd, R., In the Garden, Turn & Learn
Chapman, J., Vegetables in Underwear (2 copies)
Child, L., I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
Collins, R., What Does An Anteater Eat?
Doyle, L., Watch Me Grow
Ehlert, L., Eating the Alphabet — Fruits & Vegetables  from A to Z
Fruits & Vegetables – S.T.E.A.M. Learning for Young Children (9 copies)
Gaines, J. We Are the Gardeners (7 copies)
Graham, O., Carrot Soup
Hood, M., Carrot & Pea, An Unlikely Friendship (2 copies)
Hudson, K., Too Many Carrots ( 2 copies)
McClosky, R., Blueberries for Sal
My 100 First Words (3 copies)
Nelson, K., If You Plant a Seed (3 copies)
Scarry, R., Best Little Word Book Ever!
Staake, B., The Red Lemon
Swanton, T., The Vegetable Bible (2 copies)
Yonezu, Y., 5 Little Apples

Judith’s Reading Room’s 10th Anniversary – 10 ‘Stand Out’ Libraries 

In addition to libraries, Judith’s Reading Room holds an annual competition for the “Freedom Through Literacy Award.”  Initiated in 2015, Judith’s Reading Room has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Applications for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award may be found at www.judithsreadingroom.org/freedom-through-literacy-award/.  Deadline is July 1st.  Winners announced end of July. 

10th Anniversary ‘Stand Out’ Library – Harkins House

Mindy Chipps, Juvenile Counselor at Harkins House and David Leiber, Judith’s Reading Room Board member show off the Judith’s Reading Room library at Harkins House.

To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, Judith’s Reading Room, a global literacy non-profit organization founded in 2010 kept good on its promise to bolster libraries it has donated over its 10 year history. 

 To celebrate the milestone, the board of directors allocated $5,000 to be invested in 10 of its 99 literacy initiatives.   Portland, Oregon’s Harkins House is named one of the ten “stand out” libraries.  Led by board member David Leiber, 39 books worth $637 – all picked by the kids themselves — were delivered to Harkins House on March 13.
Since 2012, Judith’s Reading Room has collaborated with educators  and counselors at Harkins House, a nationally recognized shelter for delinquent youth near Portland, Oregon, and has delivered nearly 600 books for leisure reading and book clubs.

The idea is to instill in this unique population a love of reading.  Why? Literacy is a significant protective factor for at-risk youth and is strongly correlated with reducing recidivism, according to Mindy Chipps, Juvenile Counselor.   Harkins House serves over 100 youth per year.  Last year the number totaled 122 with 80% returning to their community.  She added, “Literacy is supported by everyone at Harkins House because books help kids returning to school by dropping barriers, heightening interest, and fostering the love of favorite topics.”

Chipps added that youth residing at Harkins House have the opportunity to actually read a book, unencumbered by stresses and strains from their often untenable home environments.  Most stay 60 days and in that time, many come to see reading a book as a way to escape painful environments.  

Shopping at Barnes & Noble for books for the donation to Harkins House in Portland, Oregon.  David Leiber received book wish list from Harkins House and successfully found most of their request.

Letter and more photo’s of delivered books!
(Updated April 18, 2020)

Hello,

I hope this finds you and yours safe and healthy.  We are living in such a different world right now.

I included the approved pictures from your visit.  I read the press release from your visit, it is great! All of our youth have been enjoying the books you donated and have been sharing their awesome summaries of the books, it is wonderful to see.

Look forward to our continued partnership!

Mindy Chipps
Juvenile Counselor
Harkins House

Books Donated to Harkins House, Portland, Oregon March 13, 2020
Angelou, M., I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Backman, F., A Man Called Ove
Backman, F., Bear Town
Beattie, M., Codependent No More
Brown, C., A Piece of Cake
Buxbaum, J., Tell Me Three Things
Clinton, H., The Book of Gutsy Women
Dasher, J., The Maze Runner Series
       Book 1: The Maze Runner
       Book 2: The Scortch Trials
       Book 4: The Kill Order
De La Pena, M., Mexican White Boy
Emmich, V., Dear Evan Hansen
Frank, A., Anne Frank’s Diary, The Graphic Adaptation
Glasgow, K., Girl in Pieces
Han, J., To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Hollis, D., Get Out of Your Own Way
Jackson, H., A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Kamkwamba, W., The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Liggett, K., The Grace Year
Lucado, M., Anxious for Nothing
McManus, K., One of Us is Lying
McManus, K., One of Us is Next
Morris, H., The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Niven, J. All the Bright Places
O’Brien, T., The Things They Carried
Reynolds, J., Long Way Down
Ribay, R., Patron Saints of Nothing
Rodriguez, L., Always Running
Salazar, N., The Flight Girls
Sanchez, R., Once a King, Always a King
Sanchez, R., My Bloody Life
Stevenson, B., Just Mercy
Stone, N., Dear Martin
Takei, G., They Called Us Enemy
Thomas, A., On the Come Up
Venkatesh, S., Gang Leader for a Day
Watson, R., Watch Us Rise
Yoon, N., Every Thing, Every Thing
Yousafzai, M., I am Malala

 The 10 Judith’s Reading Room ‘Stand Out’ libraries are:

“By supporting the good work of others, we aspire to share and celebrate people who are doing genuinely astonishing work, instilling in others a love of reading,” said Scott Leiber, Co-Founder of Judith’s Reading Room.

In addition to libraries, Judith’s Reading Room holds an annual competition for the “Freedom Through Literacy Award.”  Initiated in 2015, Judith’s Reading Room has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Applications for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award may be found at www.judithsreadingroom.org/freedom-through-literacy-award/.  Deadline is July 1st.  Winners announced end of July. 

Judith’s Reading Room Celebrates Harkins House

NEWS RELEASE 
CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Celebrates Harkins House
Delivers Books Hand-Picked by At-Risk Youth
 

March 18, 2020 — . To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, Judith’s Reading Room, a global literacy non-profit organization founded in 2010 kept good on its promise to bolster libraries it has donated over its 10 year history. 

 To celebrate the milestone, the board of directors allocated $5,000 to be invested in 10 of its 99 literacy initiatives.   Portland, Oregon’s Harkins House is named one of the ten “stand out” libraries.  Led by board member David Leiber, 39 books worth $637 – all picked by the kids themselves — were delivered to Harkins House on March 13.
 
Since 2012, Judith’s Reading Room has collaborated with educators  and counselors at Harkins House, a nationally recognized shelter for delinquent youth near Portland, Oregon, and has delivered nearly 600 books for leisure reading and book clubs.

The idea is to instill in this unique population a love of reading.  Why? Literacy is a significant protective factor for at-risk youth and is strongly correlated with reducing recidivism, according to Mindy Chipps, Juvenile Counselor.   Harkins House serves over 100 youth per year.  Last year the number totaled 122 with 80% returning to their community.  She added, “Literacy is supported by everyone at Harkins House because books help kids returning to school by dropping barriers, heightening interest, and fostering the love of favorite topics.”

Chipps added that youth residing at Harkins House have the opportunity to actually read a book, unencumbered by stresses and strains from their often untenable home environments.  Most stay 60 days and in that time, many come to see reading a book as a way to escape painful environments.  

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  In the ten years since its founding, Judith’s Reading Room has established 99 libraries in 21 countries filled with 128,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Applications for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award may be found at Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through LiteracyThe deadline for receipt of completed applications is July 1st.  Winners will be announced by the end of July.

99TH LIBRARY – Judith’s Reading Room Opens 2nd Library in Mississippi

NEWS RELEASE 
CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Opens 2nd Library in Mississippi 
Organization Champions Literacy in Communities That Lack Books
 
February 24, 2020 — In celebration of Black History Month and the organization’s 10th Anniversary, Judith’s Reading Room dedicated its 99th library today — its 2nd in Mississippi — in collaboration with Rev. Dr. Leoda Topps, Ph.D, Education and Pastor at the Avery Chapel Church in Southaven, MS.
 
Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy nonprofit organization founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian who dedicated her life to freedom of speech and access to books for all, has established libraries in 21 countries filled with over 128,000 books.
 
To celebrate the organization’s 10th Anniversary, the Board of Directors allocated $5,000 to be divided amongst 10 of its “stand out” libraries.  Rev. Dr. Topps is one of the 10 to receive the organization’s special commemorative award.    Specifically, Judith’s Reading Room purchased 73 books for its 99th library.
 
In 2014, Judith’s Reading Room teamed with Rev. Dr. Topps to deliver more than 700 hand-picked children’s books to St. Peter’s AME Church in Tunica, MS, where Dr. Topps vowed to assist children after school with their homework and to help improve their reading skills.  That donation became our 86th Judith’s Reading Room Library.  
 
Rev. Dr. Topps said, “I’ve reached out to a preacher at one of my sister churches to help pull in community children to visit the new library at Avery Chapel Church.” She added, “As a newcomer to Southaven, I have found that many of the children come from single-parent homes with multiple children and the mothers’ work schedules don’t allow them to spend much time reading to their children.  This is where the church can step in to help.”  
 
Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  In the ten years since its founding, Judith’s Reading Room has established 99 libraries in 21 countries filled with 128,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Applications for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award may be found at Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through LiteracyThe deadline for receipt of completed applications is July 1st.  Winners will be announced by the end of July.