Posted by Erin on 05.24.2012 at 9:00 am
The following story is from our partners at the National Center for Family Literacy. It is one of many examples that show how you help children and families around America and the world just by buying and donating your books with Better World Books.
Crystal and Cindy are both fourth graders at Pleasant View Elementary, a small rural school located in southeast Kentucky.
The school meets many of the community’s challenges with a dedicated staff and innovative approaches to education. A third of the population in the rural town lives in poverty; eighty-eight percent of the children at the school are poor. The school struggles with low parent involvement in school activities; many parents seem intimidated when they do visit the school.
Crystal and Cindy also share tragic circumstances: both of their mothers died recently. Because of the project funded by Better World Books, they are learning together after school. They also are forming a powerful bond and helping each other overcome a very difficult loss.
The girls are participating in a unique after-school reading and learning project featuring the age-old art of quilt making that is inspired by Wonderopolis®, an award-winning daily learning website launched in October 2010 by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL). The quilt is one of the program’s offline activities taking place during reading nights at the school, and closely connected to the students’ exploration and learning through Wonderopolis; the quilt-making activity offered many teaching opportunities, particularly as explored in Wonder of the Day #124, How Do Quilts Tell Stories?
3 Comments » | Tagged From our Friends, Impact, Impact Vignette
Posted by Erin on 05.18.2012 at 8:14 am
Guest post by Lynette Chiang, award-winning writer and world bicycle traveler
Ever since he “reluctantly agreed” to accompany his father on a luxury bird-watching cruise almost a decade ago, Race Across America cycling legend Lon Haldeman has been fascinated by the people, culture and landscapes of Peru.
Each year he leads small groups of cyclists, travelers and volunteers into remote regions of the country to deliver schoolbooks, feed orphans, buy supplies for a girl’s home, sponsor bike races and even coach young cycling hopefuls for the upcoming Olympics.
With donations he’s built two schools near the town of Iquitos – the 600-student Jack Wolff School, and the more rustic Joseph Pulley school, whose 30 students walk for up to an hour each day to attend class.
A highlight of the expedition is a 3-day passage to Iquitos by banana boat through the Amazon river system, jumping off at various points to surprise and delight small, isolated schools with books and writing supplies – all purchased with donations.
Finally, the Puerto Ocopa orphanage he stumbled upon in 2004 is now a regular destination, where donations feed and clothe 40 orphans.
You can join Lon and his tour company, PACTour to cycle, sightsee, help the kids .. all of the above!
*Note* The above guest post is from our friend, Lynette Chiang. Lynette Chiang is an award-winning copywriter, New York Times-reviewed author, filmmaker and world bicycle traveler. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Lynette, for sharing this inspiring cycling story with us!
If this story inspires you, as it does us, tell us what you’re inspired to do now… thanks!
1 Comment » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 05.14.2012 at 9:03 am
Guest post by budding author Malcolm McLoughlin
Books have always been a haven for me. The twists and turns, highs and lows of great tales have held my imagination since the first time I read Hansel and Gretel.
When my own life started to unravel through a mixture of alcoholism and the diagnosis of my daughters Autism, I found solace in books. An authors ability to transpose the readers to another world is one of the greatest gifts that can be given and received. Its a reciprocal and intimate exchange.
In dealing with my own demons I decided that writing was a way to heal old wounds and lay a part of my soul bare. In truth there is beauty. Read more…
6 Comments » | Tagged Book Lists, From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 05.03.2012 at 9:02 am
Guest post from Miss Plus America ELITE, Spruce Dickerson
Over the years, books have given me insight into the realities of the world. Take true crime stories for instance. Reading true-to-life criminal biographies is so very fascinating because evil is so far-fetched to me. I mean, how can someone cut up a person’s body, store the pieces in the freezer, and then cook and eat them? This absolutely captivates my curiosity, as my mind struggles to make sense of it. Reading these stories has helped deepen the compassion in my heart for sick, wounded, and lost souls. It helps me to understand there is a tangible evil in this world! I have a heart for motivating, inspiring, and encouraging people; and by reading this genre of book it has helped me focus more on the hurts of others and to extend myself in trying to ease their pain. Whether the person is a victim or the abuser, they both are in pain and in need of compassion.
Have your say » | Tagged Book Lists, From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 05.01.2012 at 8:02 am
As book-lovers, many of us have a thing for words. This weekend I asked our wise & wordy Facebook and Twitter fans to vote on their favorite word in the English language. Here are the top 10 results and the definition described by Merriam & Webster.
2. Shenanigans: tricky or questionable practices or conduct; or high-spirited or mischievous activity
3. Love: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; or warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion; or unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
4. Periwinkle: any of several trailing or woody evergreen herbs of the dogbane family; or a light purplish blue
5. Ephemeral: lasting a very short time
6. Hope: to cherish a desire with anticipation; or to expect with confidence
7. Curmudgeon: a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man
8. Onomatopoeia: the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it; or the use of words whose sound suggests the sense
9. Behooves: to be necessary, proper, or advantageous for
10. Yes: an affirmative reply
Is your favorite word included on this list? What is it and why?
4 Comments » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.30.2012 at 9:17 am
Guest post by Jenny Long, Founder of SOCO Marketplace
*NOTE* We love the SOCO Marketplace project because they believe what we do – that we can use the power of commerce to change lives. You can learn all about our social and environmental benefits here.
I’ve always loved the idea of buying something that helps a humanitarian effort. When someone says ‘cool sandals’ or ‘nice necklace,’ I love being able to reply with ‘oh, thanks, it’s this great company that helps supply clean water,’ or ‘women escaping human trafficking made it.’
2 Comments » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.26.2012 at 8:18 am
Guest post by Plywood People Project Manager, Gisele Nelson
Here at Plywood People, we live by the mantra, “We will be known by the problems we solve.” Once we’ve seen a problem that we believe there is a solution for, we feel we have a responsibility to begin solving that problem. We saw 2 problems.
- Billboards were being discarded and we believed there could be an alternative use for them.
- Refugees were being brought to the U.S. but couldn’t find jobs.
We felt passionate about addressing these needs, so we created Billboard Bags. We now employ refugees who make bags out of billboards.
Have your say » | Tagged From our Friends, Social Enterprise
Posted by Erin on 04.25.2012 at 8:26 am
Gust Post by Maria Rainier, Writer for http://www.onlinedegrees.org/blog/
Arguably the best season of the year, Spring is a time associated with the natural renewal and vibrance of life. It’s also a great time for kids to sit out in nature and enjoy the weather with their favorite book. Accordingly, I’d like to list off some timeless reads for youngsters that fit in nicely with the spring aesthetic.
The Redwall Series
This wildly successful series by Brian Jacques involves the adventures of anthropomorphic animals who live in and around the storied Redwall Abbey near Mossflower forest. Mice, badgers, and birds perform courageous feats in a rustic setting of a bygone medieval age. Notable titles include Redwall, Mossflower, and The Pearls of Lutra.
1 Comment » | Tagged Book Lists, From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.18.2012 at 8:30 am
Guest post by Johnnetta Mcswain, Author and Activist
Note: This post is not appropriate for children.
I was born to an alcoholic mother and an absent father. From the moment I entered the world, I faced neglect, abuse, and poverty. At the age of five, my three uncles began what would become five years of brutal sexual, mental, and physical torture of me, my sister, and my male cousin. By the age of eight, I contracted syphilis and pneumonia as a result of the sexual abuse.
After the torture stopped, I was still left with the neglect and emotional abuse of my mother who didn’t provide my basic needs. Therefore, I dropped out of high school, began to steal, and lived a life of self-destruction.
On my 30th birthday, an urgency came over me to be the first in my family to break these vicious cycles. In a genuine effort to save my two sons from continuing these cycles, at age 32, I packed up my house, took my boys and drove from Birmingham, Alabama to Georgia. Equipped with only a GED and a dream to be the first in my family to graduate with a college degree, I enrolled at Kennesaw State University at age 33, and graduated in three years, becoming the first college graduate in my family. But, this wasn’t enough for me, at age 36, I enrolled in Clark Atlanta University and graduated in two years with my Masters in Social Work with a 3.9 GPA.
1 Comment » | Tagged From our Friends, In the News
Posted by Erin on 04.12.2012 at 8:44 am
Guest post by blogger and avid reader, Michele Arnett, http://politeravings.blogspot.com
As a stay-at-home mother who is organizationally-challenged, piles and stacks are the banes of my existence. My house is littered with piles of laundry and stacks of paperwork. I tend to tackle piles by separating them into smaller piles that then go into circulation in several different places instead of one messy pile in a central location. Some days I just sit at the kitchen table, staring at a pile of bills, hoping that my focused dislike and frustration can cause the pile to spontaneously combust.
Unfortunately, staring just makes the pile grow larger. Likewise, staring at a pile of laundry does not motivate a shirt to fold itself. Piles are lifeless, helpless entities that represent work, monotony and futility in the life of a housewife.
However, my many piles of books are the exception to this complaint. I have specific types of books piled in several different locations around the house. Like most readers, I have a stack next to my favorite chair in the family room. This the diverse group of books I’m currently reading. This stack will usually include at least one classic novel, my book club’s current selection, one or two histories on whatever time period I’m interested in at the moment, a cooking or gardening reference book, and some magazines.
2 Comments » | Tagged From our Friends
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