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.
Judith’s Reading Room announced today its donation of a children’s library on board the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) aircraft carrier. This is the second library Judith’s Reading Room has donated to the presidential carrier. This donation of 436 children’s books valued at $4,927 will give the 4,500 Sailors more opportunities to stay connected with their children while serving overseas for long periods of time
In collaboration with The World Is Just A Book Away, Judith’s Reading Room opened eight (8) libraries-within-libraries at schools in East Java, Indonesia, as follows:Lois & Buzz Aldrin Library, Fess Parker Library, Muhammad Yunus Library, Desmond Tutu Library, Natasha Richardson Memorial Library, Yo-Yo May Library, Liam Neeson Library and Little Dolphin by the Sea Library
Each Judith’s Reading Room library contains 100 English language children’s books to supplement local language books. Judith’s Reading Room donated today a total of 800 books, valued at $6,400, serving 2,208 school age children at these 8 schools.
New School Library in Albania Stocked with English Books
Students at Rakip Kocibelli Elementary School in the village of Qatrom, near the city of Korca in South-Eastern Albania celebrated the opening of their new school library made possible primarily through 100 English-language children’s books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. Today’s donation expanded the organization’s reach to Europe after its having established libraries in Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
Peace Corp volunteer Dennis Dias contacted the organization in August, having been referred to it by the American Library Association. Dias, based in Qatrom, spearheaded the international collaboration which included the Embassy of France, Darien Book Aid, Friends of Albania and Judith’s Reading Room. “I think this is a testament to what the people can accomplish when they work together,” said Dias. The school marked the occasion by organizing a party in the school’s new library room. Elson Barci, a teacher at the school, worked throughout the celebration checking out books to a line of impatient students. “The opening of the library is an important project for the school because it’s a good way of helping the next generation and developing capacity in the village. You can see the desire in the children’s eyes to see all these books,” said Barci.
Children decorated the room in preparation for the opening of the library with the American flag and a Judith’s Reading Room sign. Ten year old Sajmir, who stood in line for a book explained, “it’s my first time to see so many beautiful English books in one place.” An eager seven year old student approached a teacher and said, “I don’t know English, but can I take one? My cousin will explain it to me.” The faculty expects the new books will motivate students to read more and improve their English. Currently, grades three, four and five receive English lessons twice a week, and there are plans to expand English education in the coming years.