Judith’s Reading Room Joins Voices in Celebration of National Nutrition Month


CONTACT: Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Joins Voices in
Celebration of National Nutrition Month

February 22, 2021 – Blandon, Pa –  March is National Nutrition Month and Judith’s Reading Room, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit literacy organization will join its voice with others in bringing attention to the topic by gifting over $500 worth of children’s gardening books to Allentown’s Casa Guadalupe’s WIC program that serves families with children under the age of five.

Perennially favorite children’s books like Blueberries for Sal, The Red Lemon, and The Carrot Seed, among dozens of others about fruits, vegetables and gardening will be offered to Casa’s clients that come in during March who have been previously counseled over the phone by its education coordinators and nutritionists, according to Dawn Bush, WIC and Wellness Coordinator.  “Counseling will inform parents about ways to change their grocery store habits and will offer ways to participate in community gardens,” said Bush.

“The importance to Casa Guadalupe having children’s fruit and vegetable books for National Nutrition Month is that families of the WIC program can learn about the importance of nutrition. They also get to spend time reading together,” added Bush.

“These hand-picked children’s books make learning about fruit and vegetables fun,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.  Ms. Leiber, a 16 year Penn State Master Gardener has donated over 1,500 volunteer hours in communities across the region.  Notably, she partnered with other Master Gardeners to create The Garden of New Beginnings at the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown where fresh vegetables were grown.  She saw first-hand how many inner-city residents were surprised to see that tomatoes grow on a vine, in soil, since they had only seen tomatoes come out of a can.

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with 130,446 books donated worth over $1.4 million.  The annual $5,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award, is bestowed on champions of literacy, who have done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  Applications are available at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org.  Deadline for submission is July 1, 2021.

To learn more about how to grow fruits and vegetables, contact your local county extension office.  For residents in Berks County call 610-378-1327; for Lehigh County, call 610-391-9840; for Northampton County, call 610-746-1970.



Judith’s Reading Room Seeks Applicants For Its Annual Literacy Award


CONTACT: Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Seeks Applicants For Its Annual Literacy Award

January 25, 2021 — Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit literacy organization founded in 2010 announced its signature $5,000 Award that honors domestic and international “champions of literacy.” Apply now for the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org. Deadline for submission is July 1, 202l. Winners will be announced by end-July and will be featured during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

The 7th annual Freedom Through Literacy Award recognizes the achievements of teachers, librarians, authors, booksellers, educators and literacy non-profits. Applicants are judged on five criteria including how their philosophy about literacy guides their work. The 2021 Awards include $2,500 for the Grand Prize winner, $1,500 for the Judith’s Award winner. And, up to four applicants will share a Board Option prize, the total purse of which is $1,000.

The Freedom Through Literacy Award was established in 2015 to pay tribute to those on the front line of literacy. Prior to 2015 the organization focused on shipping books to those around the world without access to books, including active duty troops in Afghanistan. To date, the organization has awarded $38,500 in prize money to 35 winners in the U.S.A., the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with 130,446 books donated worth over $1.4 million.

#Judith’s Freedom Through Literacy Award

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Generous Pennsylvanians Applauded for Donating Books to Children in Need

Generous Pennsylvanians Applauded for Donating Books to Children in Need

December 29, 2020 —  Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization based in eastern Pa, delivered “food for the soul” of children in need across this country thanks to the generous patrons of Wyomissing’s Barnes & Noble located in Broadcasting Square.  Judith’s Reading Room was selected as its 2020 Holiday Book Drive Charity.

During the coronavirus pandemic, which brought many families to the breaking point, book lovers responded to the B&N Holiday Book Drive and donated a total of 1,918 books with a cover price value of $19,434.  “It is impossible to state how emotional it is for families and children, who have suffered greatly this year, to receive brand new books thanks to Barnes & Noble and its book-loving patrons,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.  She continued, “we are grateful for the confidence Barnes & Noble has placed on our organization to get the perfect books to the perfect children.”

As the books were collected weekly, Judith’s Reading Room allocated the donated books to its proven, award-winning organizations serving children at Casa Guadalupe in Allentown, PA, to children in rural Texas, to Navajo Nation children in Chinle, Arizona, to children educated by an AME pastor in South Haven, Mississippi, and to children who get their books delivered by a camel named Bright in Kech Balochistan, Pakistan.

Judith’s Reading Room was founded in 2010.  Its mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 101 libraries in 22 countries with over 130,000 books valued at over $1.4 million dollars.  Its signature event is the annual Freedom Through Literacy Award competition which has awarded $38,500 in cash prizes to 35 champions of literacy.

Applications for the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award will be posted on the organization’s website at www.judithsreadingroom.org in late January 2021.

Camel Library on the move!

Camel drivers, outfitted with custom-made book pouches will travel to the least populated region in southwestern Pakistan. Basarat Kazim is named a 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Board Option prize winner for her mobile Camel Library for Kech Balochistan.

We cannot get enough of the new Camel Library. Here we have the camel on the move, on the way to their library destination.

Library destination reached! It is book selection and checkout time. This brings a new meaning to surreal, at least in terms of libraries.

Library destination reached! Books selected & checked out. Now it is story time – no description needed – the video tells it all! What a way to explain the impact that Basarat Kazim partnership with Judith Reading Room has!

Please also read the recent story in the Arab News-Pakistan Mobile camel library carries books to children in remote Pakistani villages

In addition, Basarat just received books donated via Barnes & Noble (Wyomissing, PA) @BNReadingPA  holiday drive featuring Judith’s Reading Room as their 2020 Holiday Charity.

Dear Cathy,

My share of excitement just arrived!! Simply love the early readers Barnes & Noble donated to honour the work of Judith’s Reading Room. The children will be absolutely fascinated.

Thank you so much.

Best always,

Learn more about Basarat Kazim and her latest Freedom Through Literacy Award

Judith’s Reading Room a B&N 2020 Holiday Book Drive Charity

Dear Michael,
Thank you very, very much for naming Judith’s Reading Room the 2020 Holiday Book Drive charity for your Barnes & Noble store, located at Broadcasting Square, Wyomissing, PA.
Scott and I were amazed that in the first week of the drive, your generous patrons donated over 400 books to serve children with limited access to books!  We can’t imagine how many more books will be donated over the entire holiday season!!
These two pictures show how we got to work, immediately, to determine the exact perfect book for the exact perfect recipient organization!  Charmaine Tsosie, Navajo Nation in Chinle, AZ will receive a huge mix of books to add to her mobile library… Rev. Dr. Leoda Topps, Pastor AME Church, South Haven, MS will receive books featuring black children or written about African American people …. Chris McGilvery, Canyon, TX will receive elementary to middle school books….. Basarat Kazim, Lahore, Pakistan (currently visiting family in the USA) will receive the “ very early readers” for her to hand-carry in her luggage to Lahore, Pakistan … Dawn Bush, Casa Guadalupe, Allentown, PA will receive birth-to-five books for parents in the WIC program.
Including the packages with multiple books (we count each book as a separate book) we arrived at a grand total of 486 books with a cover price of $3,533.  
Again, Michael, thank you from all of us — and thank you in advance from all the children, all over the USA and the world for encouraging your patrons to donate books this holiday season.  Scott and I will be back as soon as you have another batch of books for us to pick up!

Judith’s Reading Room’s 101th Library – Camel Named ‘Bright’ Delivers Books

CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
Camel Named ‘Bright’ Delivers Books to Children in Hard to Reach Villages
October 29, 2020 — Today, Judith’s Reading Room announces its 101st library — the first-ever Judith’s Reading Room mobile library to utilize a camel to deliver books to children.  The camel driver, Murad, and his camel named ‘Bright,’  carried 500  children’s books to the nearly impossible to reach community of Kech Balochistan in southwest Pakistan.
The Camel Library for Kech Balochistan was awarded a 2020 Judith’s Reading Room ‘Freedom Through Literacy’ Board Option Prize.  The annual ‘Freedom Through Literacy Award’ honors champions of literacy from all disciplines from around the world.  To date, 36 individuals have been awarded prizes totaling $38,500.
In partnership with Ms. Basarat Kazim, President of Alif Laila Book Bus Society, who is credited with the creative and innovative camel library, Murad and Bright will visit three communities on a rotating basis delivering picture books, bi-lingual English & Urdu books, and English language very easy readers.
The Camel Library will circulate books via a monitoring system supervised by local volunteers.  Their goal is to develop a reading culture in these isolated communities.  Photos and videos of ‘Bright,’ the camel can be seen at 
“Upon seeing ‘Bright,’ one little girl exclaimed, “I never thought camels could carry books.  I only thought they could carry sticks or grass!”  “Parents report that now their children are the ones telling them stories.  Before, it was the other way around,” said Ms. Kazim.  She continued, “another girl exclaimed, ‘please let me keep more than one book — if I finish the book in one day what will I do for the rest of the week?’”
Judith’s Reading Room invites members of the community to donate brand new, very easy readers and picture books to add to the Camel Library.  Name tags will be inserted into the gift books with the donors name, if desired.  Donations should be mailed before November 10th to Judith’s Reading Room, P.O. Box 164, Blandon, PA  19510.
The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 101* libraries in 22* countries with over 128,000 books worth nearly US$1.4 million.  
Applications for the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award will be posted on our website at www.judithsreadingroom.org in January 2021.  

Chinle Planting Hope “READ in Beauty”

Charmaine Tsosie, a 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Board Option Prize winner for her organization, Chinle Planting Hope received fantastic coverage in Navajo Times! The article is fascinating and makes Judith’s Reading Room so proud that Charmaine was selected for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award.

Judith’s Reading is proud to offer new books for their “READ in Beauty ” effort. CPH hopes to raise startup costs of $204,570 through a combination of grants and private donations, according to its proposal. It’s an ambitious project for a small group of volunteers headed by a woman who’s also a mom, a student, and has a full-time job.

According to Arizona State Educational Reports, 67% of Chinle third-graders and 89% of high schoolers lack reading proficiency. The article goes into details how CPH addresses these issues.

Information: To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/chinle-quotread-in-beautyquot-bookmobile

Learn More about Charmaine’s organization …

2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award – Board Option Prize

Chinle Planting Hope Facebook Page

Navajo Times original Article

READ in Beauty Go Bookmobile Fund Me

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging Freedom Through Literacy. To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 99 libraries in 21 countries with 128,000 books donated, valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars. The 100th Judith’s Reading Room library in Zimbabwe, previously scheduled to open in August 2020, has been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Freedom Through Literacy Award was initiated in 2015 as the organization’s signature event. Including the 2020 winners, the organization will have disbursed $38,500 in prize money, honoring 36 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.


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.

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

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

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