Posted by admin on 08.29.2008 at 12:29 pm
Today our Facebook fan page has 2,571 fans. If we have 4,000 by Friday, September 12 (two weeks from today) then we’re going to offer our Facebook fans a big-time discount. And when we say big time… we mean Big. Time. So quit dawdling and go invite your friends!
Are you up to the challenge?
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, facebook, social media
Posted by admin on 08.29.2008 at 12:25 pm
We’ve talked about the presidential candidates before here and I’ve told you where to pick up some literature about them, but it’s time to dig deeper: the Vices you can live with. If the president were to see his untimely end this person would be the “leader of the free world” as the position is known, so better get to know ‘em.
On the left we’ve got Delaware Senator Joe Biden as the Vice Presidential candidate. From him we’ve got last year’s effort: Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics. (Note, this has a 4.5 rating averaged from 41 reviews… whoa. That’s quite high for a political book…)
For the right side meet your offering, the 44 year-old Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Unless your name is Rudy Giuliani there’s not much of a chance that you’re below Washington level politics and have written a book, so we can’t see any of Palin’s scribing, but we can go to old faithful, Wikipedia for some info.
When more (book related) info comes out, you’ll be the first to hear it.
Have your say » | Tagged Book Reviews, book reviews, election, politics
Posted by admin on 08.29.2008 at 9:59 am
Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.
The man was struck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached, the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.
He came up to the person and said, “You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, “It sure made a difference to that one!”
This is the story that inspired the name for David Leiners’ Starfish School (Escola Estrela do Mar for our Portuguese speaking friends) outside of Maceio Brazil. It also serves as the perfect metaphor for what is happening at this remarkable place. While it would be impossible to help every child in this area, the Starfish School sure is making a difference for every child that walks through the door.
Driving through the slums outside of Maceio you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the sheer poverty surrounding you–shacks stacked on top of one another like Legos on the hillside, grown men sitting on the railroad tracks and drinking beer at 1:00 on a Friday afternoon. We stop at what at first glance appears to be a beautiful and majestic bay, but upon further inspection we see that the water is so polluted that you wouldn’t dare dip a toe into the sewage infested water. As we drive back towards the school you wonder how anyone ever makes it out of such a sad place.
You wonder until you set foot inside the Starfish School. It’s a completely different world inside of these walls. There are children laughing and playing and an overwhelming sense of hope and joy fills the air, something totally absent from the world outside.
David tells us stories of the children’s lives outside of school. One child’s father had sold every possession in their home to raise money for drugs, another child had recently come to school without a uniform because that was sold as well. After hearing these stories you truly develop an appreciation for what is taking place at this school. Not only is it a place of learning, but it serves as a sanctuary from the harsh realities of the day to day struggles of just living in a community like this one.
Students must meet several criteria to gain acceptance into the school. They must reside in the area and be from a low income family and home visits are made to confirm these factors. For children to gain admittance to the elementary levels an emphasis is placed on adaptability. This means they must be able to join the program without being a distraction or without slowing the progress of the existing students. There is no tuition to attend the school, however they do ask several things of the parents. They must show up at the school every few months and clean for several hours. They also require the parents to sign a contract, stating that they will be strong supporters of their child’s education. Education cannot be a part time commitment.
Sure, the school is amazing, but why did we visit? Well, it has been with the aid of our friends at Worldfund that this school has been able to thrive. The school was started in a small shack in 2005 and now resides in a beautiful building, walled in and protected from the crime outside. Starting with 27 students the school now has an enrollment of 90. The curriculum at the Starfish Schools aims to provide a complete education, with an emphasis on health and personal development. They also serve nothing but nutritious meals at the school. During our visit I enjoyed what was far and away the tastiest and healthiest school lunch I’ve ever had.
In an area where 11,000 school-age children don’t have access to education, it’s inspiring to visit a place like Escola Estrela do Mar. These children are gaining invaluable tools that will hopefully help them break free from the poverty in which they currently reside. In the years to come, with the continued support of Worldfund, the Starfish School will be able to reach out to even more children, and make a difference in even more lives.
Posted by Jack on 08.28.2008 at 2:18 pm
You’ve heard of them, Jordan’s Bulls, Montana’s 49ers, Gretzky’s Oilers, Bird’s Celtics, Magic’s Lakers, the teams that any player hates to play because they know the odds are against them because that other team of stars is going to play all out until the buzzer sounds. At Riverfest in Niles Michigan, in the Dragon Boat Races, the town of Niles is that team. Reaping both the benefits of home [river] advantage and a team comprised of grizzly veterans and new rising talent, the deck was stacked against any competition. Niles is known for both experienced play and a solid farm system, bringing refined talent to the adult level from the highly competitive youth races. The Niles High School Band would hold up that dominance in the youth league, but in the adult race, change was in the air.
Better World Books came to Riverfest to sell books and engage in a great festival, they came to put a creatively designed float in the water, but most of all they came to win. Like a rookie in battle who is too ignorant to know to fear a war champion, Better World Books was the lowly infantry man to Niles’ Achilles; but unlike the lofty Greek, Niles had no perceivable weakness. Better World Books would have to simply be the better team.
Murmurs spread around the festival all day of a young upstart team, made up of heart and absolutely no talent whatsoever, a bookish crowd with warehouse tans that would take on the Olympic level competition of the iron-fisted Niles crowd. Could the tiny Better World Books boat stand against the wrath of the Dragon Boat embodiment of Posiedon himself?
The race started close, jitters clearly affecting Better World Books as the Viking like warriors of Niles stroked even and true. But slowly something changed. Cows lay down when it is going to rain–they just feel it in the air and react–so when all of the kids stopped playing and went to watch the river, the prescience of the youth was palpable; victory would be a cruel mistress today.
Only a few meters left, rowing beyond their own abilities, infused with the spirit of Michael Phelps, the scrappy squad of ARC stud, Jorge Fragoso, Howard Roark-esque architect Jaime Knabet, superstar receiver, Javier Castro and hard hitting Maintenance standout David Sherwood were joined by the husband and wife Majerek in an epic throwdown. Also, Better World Books saw promise in a few Niles folks who were left off the famed squad. It was those few crew members, the rejects, who had become the proverbial cornerstones of the squad. With this group they would stand strong, crushing through the ripples of the river and the mighty approach of the heroes of Niles, Michigan.
Better World Books: Ballerific
Life moves on, and as Herodotus said, “You can never step in the same river twice.” Jordan has retired and Montana is in the booth, and Niles, Michigan is left scratching their heads as to how a small upstart company came in and simultaneously sold books while taking the checkered flag at their own flagship event. Will they ever recover or are the nouveau riche of the Dragon Boat circuit set to become the next giants of the Mitten State scene? Only time will tell, but the pantheon of great teams will truly never be the same.
Posted by Yanna on 08.28.2008 at 12:17 pm
In the past few weeks there have been some new developments with the Walk Sudan initiative to send a sea container to Southern Sudan using the Better World Books Fund.
We had two major pickups in late July yielding over 15,000 books! Since that time and due to the positive media coverage Walk Sudan has been able to collect another 2000 books!
Pick up at Newberry Library, Chicago, with Better World Books and Endless Eye
In other news an official letter was sent out to Pacodes (Walk Sudan’s partner) with details of Better World Books participation in the project. The highlights include that Better World Books has committed to front the money for the shipment of all the books to Southern Sudan. This will allow us to begin coordinating the spring shipment with Books for Africa. We look forward to working with Walk Sudan, Endless Eye and PACODES to fill the library in Panyijiar, Southern Sudan.
Have your say » | Tagged Book Reviews, Impact, Impact, Our Partners, walk sudan
Posted by admin on 08.27.2008 at 10:20 am
In regards to the last post about language and its distinctly digital leanings we have today’s poll:
1 Comment » | Tagged Poll Wednesday, emoticons, Poll Wednesday
Posted by Jack on 08.27.2008 at 10:14 am
I was recently flipping through the back issues of the New York Times magazine that I had not yet gotten to and saw one of my favorite columns, On Language, tackling a most interesting topic for a CBO: Emoticons. You won’t see emoticons here at the Better World Blog, but in a world where the average American child types far more than they write and emoticons and “AIM speak” dominate, it can be a challenge to think of how literacy and education will change with these dominating forms of communication. How many of you have fallen in and said “brb” “lol” or just included a simple ” ” in an email or used “u” instead of “you” in a moment of brevity inspired weakness?
In any event, the article is sharp and can be found here but the point of most note is the end:
Those concerned about the compression of our sped-up language are directed to “Linguistic Ruin? LOL! Instant Messaging and Teen Language,” by Sali Tagliamonte and Derek Denis, an article in the spring 2008 quarterly “American Speech” (dukeupress.edu). My choice for most influential and seminal language book of the year is “Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World,” by Naomi S. Baron, professor of linguistics at American University in D.C. (Oxford University Press, $30). She’s a scholar who can write in real time with real words.
1 Comment » | Tagged Book Reviews, emoticons, literacy, new york times, on language
Posted by admin on 08.26.2008 at 10:21 am
A note to us from Miracles in Action:
Last week the Florida teacher volunteers returned from Guatemala, where they implemented a teacher training project that focuses on reading. Your Better World books were a big part of the supplies we delivered and taught the rural Guatemalan teachers how to best use in teaching the students to read. This Saturday we are having a planning meeting to discuss the future of this project. It has worked well in two rural schools (both built with funds from Miracles in Action), and now we are ready to take the program to other schools. Of course we need lots of books. I will send you a few photos of the kids reading the books you shipped. Your staff may enjoy seeing how their efforts have benefited some very poor children, who are totally grateful for the blessing of books.
Miracles In Action, a 501(c)(3) non-profit
Have your say » | Tagged Impact, book drives, Impact, miracles in action
Posted by admin on 08.25.2008 at 9:44 pm
Check out this latest bit of press about Better World Books’ own, Jaime Knabet. Mind you that if you can’t read Spanish then you may need to find a bilingual friend (Jaime is from Chile and this article is from the “New York Times” level paper in Santiago). That being said, it’s great to get some cool press abroad and it’s also great to see Jaime get some press as the man is flat out talented. If you’ve ever seen us live at the Green Festivals you’ve seen his tables built of books and various architectural pursuits, and if you’ve bought a book from us you’re indebted to his commitment to crazy new ideas and progress, so now enjoy reading a bit about him.
Jaime is 33, moving back to Chile (we’re all wiping away the tears, seriously), he’s an architect by trade but a warehouse manager by day and, sorry ladies, he’s happily married to his lovely wife Pia (who also works at Better World Books and is a total business rockstar) and has two kids, Victoria and Benjamin (who are obviously training to become book nerds at BWB as well).
Have your say » | Tagged Show Us Some Love, argentina, chile, press, Show Us Some Love
Posted by David on 08.22.2008 at 10:48 am
Exciting news to share: Better World Books has won a National Literacy Award (the 2008 National Coalition For Literacy Leadership Award!)
This Award is being presented by the National Coalition for Literacy (“NCL”), a Washington DC-based non-profit whose mission is to “advance adult education, family literacy, and English language acquisition in the U.S by increasing public awareness for the need to increase funding and programs; promoting effective public policy; and serving as an authoritative resource for the field on national adult education issues; www.national-coalition-literacy.org. Note: NCL here is not to be confused with our major non-profit literacy partner NCFL (The National Center for Family Literacy) they are two completely separate and distinct organizations!
The Award is in recognition of the commitment and service of Better World Books to the field of adult education and family literacy. To quote the NCL: “This award recognizes individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to improving literacy in the United States. Award recipients have demonstrated a deep and sustained individual, organizational, or corporate commitment by supporting literacy across the lifespan of the local, state and national level.”
Additional 2008 award recipients include Rep. Ruben Hinojosa of Texas, The National Council of La Raza (Janet Murguia, President and CEO), and John Comings, former Director of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy.
The 2008 NCL Literacy Leadership Awards will be presented at a reception on Wednesday, September 10th, at the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress. I have been asked to receive the reward and speak at the award ceremony and I look forward to representing all of you there.
2 Comments » | Tagged Uncategorized, awards, david murphy, Impact, NCL, press
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