Maria & Antonio’s Story

Maria looked deeply into her heart and said, “Now I feel like a person.”

In 2000, Maria legally immigrated to the United States from Spain and it took ten years for her to feel whole here. She could not speak with her older son’s soccer coach because her English was not fluent enough. Maria could not even visit the OBGYN alone to get a mammography when she had a breast cancer scare. She could not help her younger son with his homework because she did not understand the words.

“It was really hard when my mom couldn’t help me with my homework. And my dad has to go to work at night and so it was really hard,” her 10-year-old son Antonio told us.

But, you ask, Maria just told you that she now feels like a person. What has changed? Maria’s local library was her game-changer “I learn grammar, I learn conversation, I have help for the homework for the kids, I come for the citizenship classes,” shares Maria.

Thanks to a grant from the National Center for Family Literacy and Better World Books, Maria’s public library in Shirley, New York is able to equip her with the tools to be a successful, full person in America.

The Shirley Community Library’s family literacy program focuses on adult and children education in learning English. “As a library, it’s important that we loan out books, it’s important that we loan out DVDs, and that’s really what most people think libraries do. But through the help of Better World Books and the National Center for Family Literacy, we have the ability to do so much more. We have the ability to change lives,” said the Library’s Education Coordinator, Beth Donovan.

Maria summed it up: “I want to say thank you for the program for helping all people, every person is welcome in the library. At the library I feel like one whole person, because I study English. If you live here, you need to talk in English.”

And we want to thank you – loyal fans, book donors and customers – for supporting Better World Books. There are many other families similar to Maria and Antonio and together, we can bring about more success stories like theirs. Your purchases make a difference. Every time you shop and donate with Better World Books, families like Maria and Antonio’s are uplifted.


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