Judith’s Reading Room continued their collaboration with The World is Just a Book Away by opening an additional five (5) libraries in East Java, Indonesia each containing 100 children’s books in English. The two organizations have now opened 17 libraries together in that country
Judith’s Reading Room opens two new libraries this week in Japan and Namibia.
Marine Moms contacted Judith’s Reading Room to request books for their sons stationed in Japan. Lcpl Gray Parish announced the opening of a Judith’s Reading Room lending library for his fellow Marines at a base in Japan. He carved space out of his quarters to house the boxes of books volunteer “Boxers” have sent his way. Since September 2010, Judith’s Reading Room has shipped 1,600 books to Marines in Iran, Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia, Japan Guam and the Philippines.
A newspaper article about Judith’s Reading Room’s work around the world inspired members of a New Jersey church to contact the organization to help one of their members, a Peace Corps volunteer at Schlip Primary School in Rehoboth, Namibia, stock its deteriorating library.
In Rehoboth, south-central Namibia, a library of children’s elementary books arrived thanks to a collaborative effort between Judith’s Reading Room and members of the Flemington Baptist Church. Until now, the school did not have the resources to provide English books before fifth grade. Schlip serves 150 children from kindergarten to grade 7. English is Namibia’s official language but the people of Rehoboth speak either Africaans or Khoekhoegowab, a “clicking” language. Judith’s Reading Room’s donation of 269 books will offer children the chance to learn English starting in kindergarten.
Sunday school children at Flemington Baptist Church in New Jersey undertook a book drive and reached out to Judith’s Reading Room to supplement their collection. They also raised funds to help offset the cost of shipping books.
These are the soldiers who handle the books that we ship to the aircraft carrier each month.
If you were watching the news this week, you would have seen live footage of the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) – the aircraft carrier where Judith’s Reading Room has TWO libraries on board! The carrier is the first to have a spectacular unmanned drone aircraft able to fly at night and in extremely dangerous circumstances, without, obviously, risking the lives of pilots.
On May 5, 2013, members of the Judith’s Reading Room Board of Directors hosted teens from the Children’s Home of Easton on a trip to Malvern, Pa. to meet Newberry-winning author Jerry Spinelli. The group spoke to the author at the People’s Light and Theater before attending the play adaption of Spinelli’s novel Stargirl.
Spinelli, who won a Newberry Award in 1991 for Maniac Magee and a Newberry Honor in 1998 for Wringer, spoke with the group for an hour and half. Topics ranged from his first rejected novels to his zeal for pet rats. The teens from Children’s Home Of Easton, all of whom are members of the Judith’s Reading Room weekly book club, had just finished reading his novel Stargirl. The teens asked questions and had their books signed.
When asked why he writes for children and young adults, Spinelli pointed out that writes books about children but not specifically for children. “I let the kids rise up to the story,” Spinelli emphasized. He’s also an advocate for losing with grace. In our times, he explained, we feel a need for everyone to win all the time, to the point that when our children and young adults meet their inevitable first failure they feel lost.
On the subject of writing, he spoke about how he had sent his first novel to forty publishers, all of whom had rejected it. All four of his first novels were rejected. His fifth book, Space Station Seventh Grade, was published in 1982. His overarching message: “Never give up.”
Judith’s Reading Room appreciates Jerry Spinelli for taking the time to meet and speak with the teens at Children’s Home of Easton and members of the Judith’s Reading Room. For more information on Jerry Spinelli, Star Girl and his other books including the ones below, please visit his website www.jerryspinelli.com.
On Sunday, April 14, Robert Lucas returned to his ancestral home in Cambodia with two boxes full of children’s books, the latest donations from Judith’s Reading Room.
On Saturday, May 4, Judith’s Reading Room dedicated two libraries in Cambodia. The first library of 76 children’s books in English was dedicated in collaboration with A New Day Cambodia, a nonprofit in Phnom Penh that provides food, shelter and education to more than 100 scavenger children either abandoned or forced to pick trash to help support their families. At A New Day Cambodia, children are taught English to increase their opportunities for securing a job, particularly in the tourist industry.
The second library was inaugurated at Anjali House, located near Angkor Wat, home to the famous Buddhist pagoda in Siem Reap. Anjali House serves 110 children between the ages of 4-18, who come from families so poor they are forced to beg on the streets. Anjali House will receive a custom collection of 87 books ranging in topics from photography to football to science.
The books, 163 in all and written in English, include titles such as Green Eggs and Ham, If You Give a Pig a Pancake and A-Z Picture Dictionary, were given to these two organizations that rescue children from the streets and garbage dumps of one of the poorest countries in the world.
Cathy Leiber, cofounder of Judith’s Reading Room met Lucas during a trip to Los Angeles last year where he was working at The World is Just a Book Away. She was looking to expand the organization’s presence in Asia and Lucas offered to personally deliver the books this month when he moves home to care for his grandfather.
“Growing and expanding international collaborations based upon common goals to foster an appreciation of books, and the pleasure of reading, has the potential to create a positive impression of Americans in Cambodia and promote world peace ,” says Leiber.
On Monday night, 20 volunteer Boxers poured into Judith’s Reading Room to select books the troops at our 38th consecutive Boxing Party. Half of the group decided to pick books for homeless female vets and their children who visit a shelter in Asheville, NC because we all felt the sting of their situation. We learned that each night, there are more than 80,000 vets without a home. Each night. Seven percent are females. Do the math – it’ll break your heart.
At this 38th consecutive monthly party boxing books for the troops, we also shipped 500 books to VA hospitals in NY, NJ and PA, to troops and children they serve in Kabul, Afghanistan, to Sailors on board the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, to Marines in Guam, Japan and the Philippines. We also shipped 269 children’s books to a Peace Corps volunteer, who teaches at Schlip Elementary School in Rehoboth, NAMIBIA.
All in all, 20 Boxers packed up 1,158 books at a cover price value of $10,534! What a huge gift to our troops, thanks to our band of volunteers.
Cathy Leiber, who was named award recipient “for exemplary service in the promotion of literacy” accepted the 2013 Celebrate Literacy Award on behalf of Judith’s Reading Room. Judith’s Reading Room was presented with a check and 24 new books inscribed: “This book is a gift from the Colonial Association of Reading Educators — CARE — to Judith’s Reading Room 2013.”
May 1st’s Celebrate Literacy Award dinner at Cedar Crest College. (L to R: Scott Leiber, Ana Luhrs, Linda Wellstein, Cathy Leiber, Daniel Leiber — all of whom are Board of Director members of Judith’s Reading Room — Toni Hoffman, Co-President AAUW Easton, and Kathy Sagl, President, Colonial Association of Reading Educators (CARE).
The purpose of this award is to identify and recognize local individuals, agencies or institutions that have made significant contributions to literacy. Recipients have shown exemplary accomplishments in areas such as direct teaching at any grade level, organizing local literacy programs, conducting research in fields related to literacy and providing young people and adults the opportunity to grow through literacy endeavors.
Judith’s Reading Room Establishes Presence in Central America Thirty years ago, Costa Rica’s Guanacastean people, who wanted their children to have private bilingual education had to send them four hours away to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Today, in celebration of World Book Day, that is not an issue, thanks to concerned parents who built a school now ranked in the top 30 in Latin America’s oldest democracy.
Like many schools around the world, it is hard enough to acquire children’s books in the local language; it is nearly impossible to secure children’s books in English. To date, Judith’s Reading Room has stepped in to fill that gap in six countries outside the U.S. including Afghanistan, Albania, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and now Costa Rica.
Judith’s Reading Room was approached by an American teacher at Academia Teocali, Deirdre Limoges, a native of New Jersey, who requested a custom collection of children’s books in English to support the efforts of Teocali’s English program. “Promoting literacy and the love of reading is one of our most significant goals,” said Patricia Soto, English Coordinator. “Academia Teocali’s academic standards are high and steadfast and our English program is greatly ambitious,” she added.
Ms. Limoges informed Judith’s Reading Room that the existing library contained just 20 English language children’s books. This donation will impact 150 students, all of whom are viewed as Costa Rica’s future leaders. During her recent home visit, Ms. Limoges visited Judith’s Reading Room and personally hand-picked 182 books with a cover price value of $1,337 that she understood to be ideal for the students. She brought them back to Costa Rica in her luggage and thus increased the size of the school’s English language library by 800%.
Photos and a letter from Karon K. Harden, Academic Liaison for Community Engagement and Service Learning at the American University of Nigera, Yola By-Pass
I am happy to report that thanks to the books we received from the March 2013 shipment from Judith’s Reading Room, we were able to inaugurate our STELLAR project lending library yesterday.
The 70 books were distributed to 35 pupils that we tutor in primary grades 3 and 4 at Musdafa Model Primary School here in Yola. Each pupil took home 2 books. As you can see from the photos, I carefully “packaged” each book in a Hefty Ziploc Freezer bag for extra protection in transit. We want them to last as long as possible (but I’d rather they get dirty being read than stay clean on a shelf somewhere!). I also sent home a laminated letter in Hausa and English with each book explaining the program to the parents and asking them for their support in helping the children to read and to take care of the books. The tutors will also be asking each child about their books when they bring them back.
We tutor these pupils every Monday and Wednesday. The pupils will bring their books back at each tutoring session and exchange them for another … In all we tutor up to 400 pupils per semester, so the more books the merrier.
I hope these pictures help me express my gratitude for your generosity.
An added note, from a correspondence after the the photos were received…I’m glad you like the pictures. By the way, in this culture, people are not taught to smile for pictures like we are – in fact, the default is a straight face, so if you see some of the children straight-faced, don’t think that they are mad or grumpy or anything. I kept telling them to smile, and they kept trying NOT to smile! 🙂
Karon K. Harden
Academic Liaison for Community Engagement and Service Learning
Lecturer, Communication Studies
American University of Nigeria
Our 2012-2013 intern, Erin D’Amelio, a senior at Lafayette College, learned today that she has been named Fulbright Scholar. Erin will travel to Malaysia in January 2014 to serve as an English teaching assistant as a part of the Fulbright’s U.S. Student Program. Erin will assemble a hand-picked collection of children’s books from the Judith’s Reading Room collection to transport with her to Malaysia to establish a library in her honor.
Erin served as intern at Judith’s Reading Room last summer and worked on several major projects including our 2012 Report to the Community, a library dedication at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital and implementation of Judith’s Reading Room’s Banned Books Week project for which we were named one of eight nationwide award recipients of the American Library Association’s Krug Award. She has continued to support the organization and will resume working at Judith’s Reading Room following her graduation.
Congratulations to Erin from everyone at Judith’s Reading Room!