Posted by admin on 12.14.2007 at 10:54 am
Authors in Britain are putting pressure on the Prime Minister to nip illiteracy in the bud. 545 authors signed a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressing their concern over poor reading skills among British youth. An official statistic released showed that one in five 11 year old British school children are not able to read to the minimum standard.
They could be scared of a plummeting book sales, but my bet is that they and many others are scared of a world where kids aren’t well educated enough to read and savor Roald Dahl. Seriously, childhood without Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Witches can barely be called childhood.
And before anyone even suggests it, the movies do the books no justice. Grab a cup of cocoa, snuggle up with your favorite Dahl book, and relive your childhood this weekend. I know how to recognize a witch, do you??
Have your say » | Tagged Book & Author News, Book Reviews, authors, literacy, roald dahl, UK
Posted by King on 11.28.2007 at 7:39 am
From Left to right pictured are Rod Risley (Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa), Xavier Helgesen (one of the co-founders of Better World Books), Al Gore (former Vice President of the United States), Aaron King (Director of the Campus Division for Better World Books, and the guy writing this post), and David Murphy (CEO of Better World Books).
Now I know because I am standing behind Mr. Gore, I look like I was photoshopped into this photo.. but trust me, I was there, it is just a trick of the light. If this were a court of law, I would say “look, you can see the shadow from his shoulder on my suit jacket, I really was there!”
So, I would love to say that Al Gore, while contemplating his next initiative to help the environment, heard the news that Better World Books and Phi Theta Kappa were teaming up to run book drives on college campuses around the country, keeping books out of landfills, providing funding for Phi Theta Kappa chapters, and most importantly, raising money for literacy programs.
When Al Gore heard of this wonderful partnership, he immediately arranged a meeting with us to encourage us in our good work, and then took a photo with us.
Unfortunately, the above tale would be a fabrication; yes, we do have a great partnership with Phi Theta Kappa, and yes we have saved millions of books from landfills, and raised a lot of money for Phi Theta Kappa and literacy too.. but Al Gore did not set up any meeting with us.
Mr. Gore was gracious enough to be one of the speakers at the Phi Theta Kappa conference in Nashville in April 2007, and there was a Photo Session Scheduled where a select group of conference attendees got to stand in line and cycle through for a Photo Op with Mr. Gore. We had about 15 seconds to say hi and tell him about our program, but lets be honest, Mr. Gore met thousands of people that day… so lets just say I am not expecting any invites to his house for coffee anytime soon.
While we were waiting for our 15 seconds with Mr. Gore, we a got a chance to meet Kevin Sharp, country music star, cancer survivor, and inspirational speaker, another one of the presenters at the conference. He had hosted his own photo op the previous day, and now got to experience the other side, waiting in line just behind us for the chance to meet Al Gore.
So let me close by saying: Mr. Gore, it was very nice to meet you, I won’t be offended if you don’t remember me, and thanks again for inventing the internet, allowing me to post articles like this.
I hope that Better World Books can continue to work with Phi Theta Kappa and all of our amazing partners to someday save enough books from landfills and raise enough money for literacy that Mr. Gore features us as a great way to help improve the world in whatever his next project is.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, Al Gore, conferences, literacy, Phi Theta Kappa
Posted by King on 11.26.2007 at 12:52 pm
I just read about this amazing concept: Getting laptops for everyone in the world! They designed a new robust amazing laptop, made it cheap, made it fun… and i wont try to do it justice here, check it out: http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php
For a limited time, you can “give one, get one”, buy one of these bad boys for yourself and send one to a child in need. and, it is tax deductible! Load it up!
I just did it, I feel great about it, and I can’t wait to get my new toy….
Also, you get a free T-mobile wi-fi access for a year… wow, this thing is practically free!
[Ed: check out the news about the recent spat with Intel and other things at One Laptop Per Child News]
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, computers, literacy, off-topic
Posted by admin on 11.26.2007 at 11:19 am
As many of you may know, December 1st is World AIDS Awareness Day. From the World AIDS Day site:
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2007 some 2.5 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.
Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.
Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.
[...] The 2007 theme, “leadership”, highlights the need for innovation, vision and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. The campaign calls on all sectors of society such as families, communities and civil society organizations – rather than just governments – to take the initiative and provide leadership on AIDS.
There you go, click the link and find out how to help.
You may be saying “I understand why you bring in environmental issues on the blog, Better World Books has a triple bottom line that emphasizes environmental impact, but why a focus on AIDS today?” (although you’re likely not using these exact words…)
Well, reader, note the following:
”Recognizing that poverty, underdevelopment and illiteracy are among the principal contributing reasons to the spread of HIV/AIDS…”
(Para 11, United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS)
Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS 2001)
Now you get it, right? Our work everyday with literacy partners Worldfund, Books for Africa, Room to Read and The National Center for Family Literacy is all about getting books and education to the people that most need them. In this way we make our effort to battle poverty, underdevelopment and illiteracy, the very things that the UN has identified as the “principal contributing reasons to the spread of HIV.”
We don’t just talk a big game folks, we walk it. So get out there, tell a friend, spread the word, start a book drive, or buy a book, but make sure to do something to live out the tenet that “we must be the change we wish to see in the world.” -Ghandi
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, AIDS, literacy, off-topic
Posted by admin on 05.25.2007 at 12:28 pm
A joint report by the UNAIDS/UNFPA/UNIFEM confirms the importance of educating girls. The reports states that:
“Education is key to an effective response to HIV/AIDS. Studies show that educated women are more likely to know how to prevent HIV infection, to delay sexual activity and to take measures to protect themselves.”
Moreover, educated girls can transform an entire community. Go to the following link http://www.unfpa.org/hiv/women/report/chapter5.html to find out how educated women can empower themselves and others.
Additionally, this graph shows the stark difference between the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection among Ugandan girls who are educated and those who are not.
Source: De Walque and J Whitworth, MRC Uganda (2002)
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, africa, literacy, literacy statistics
Posted by Jack on 03.20.2007 at 12:02 pm
Hi, I’m Jack, the new Northeast Regional Director here at BWB. If you want some info about me, check out our “About our regional directors” page on the site. Done yet…? OK, now that you know everything about me, I can begin:
It’s hard to start anew. I just moved to Boston and started a new job and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I like the area I moved in to and I like the mission of Better World Books, but how will I adapt? Will the people in each area live up to the fantastic experiences I’ve had in the past? Today I can say: Yes, and then some.
I’ve only been with BWB for a month, but from meeting the amazing people at the warehouse, talking to Pat at Books for Africa on a conference call, to even joining an “office” March Madness pool (which I am getting beaten soundly in, by the way), I feel at home already. The first people I met working here were so diverse in background and outlook, but there is one goal that we share: global literacy. This experience has truly made me feel like this is a job that I can, and will, succeed at because of their support system and enthusiasm. I can name at least 10 people who have saved me already, and I’m sure that list will extend, and hopefully, with our new hires I can start building a reputation as an answer guy too.
The best thing about starting though was the crop of emails from book drives encouraging me and showing such excitement about our program. Gary Chang, a Phi Theta Kappa member in New York City sent me the attached photo of how many books he has in his room at the beginning of the semester. You all know how much a picture is worth so I keep this one above my desk, with my eye on the prize.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, book drive, books, Jack Hanlon, literacy
Posted by admin on 12.07.2006 at 3:03 pm
Importance of storytelling stressed in literacy program ; Kids, parents learn together at McDonald’s event
Parents don’t need a book to teach their children to read or learn the English language.
They only need the time, patience and willingness to talk to their children – about anything.
That’s the message Linda Arias, a certified trainer for the National Center for Family Literacy, hopes to send through weekly McDonald’s Mealtime Literacy Nights.
“The whole part of this is learning literacy is fun,” Arias said.
She is one of the trainers who coordinates McDonald’s pilot program in Palm Springs, the only one of six locations in Riverside County . The others are dispersed throughout Southern California .
The McDonald’s Operators Association of Southern California decided to team up with the National Center for Family Literacy after the center’s 2005 study showed that four out of five third-graders in California read below their grade level.
The study also reported that 26 percent of children live in households with guardians who did not graduate from high school.
At Tuesday night’s session, Arias encouraged parents to tell stories of every kind – about their own childhood, their family and their child as a baby.
“There’s fun ways to tell stories to your family,” she said. A Spanish interpreter followed her lecture and instructions, as most of the participating families are Spanish-speaking.
Parents then practiced storytelling with their children.
“Do you know something that’s funny about you?” Martha Escobar asked her son and nephew.
“Since you were born, you’ve never stopped fighting,” she said, and the boys laughed.
Escobar, who brings her two sons, a nephew and niece, said the sessions have inspired her to do more at home.
” Sometimes at home… you don’t take the time to do something so simple. Seeing their faces – how they have enjoyed it – gets me going to make a little more time at home,” she said.
Palm Springs Unified School District parents involved in the Even Start Program, a federal program for low-income families, have been invited to the 90-minute sessions for five weeks.
At each session, Arias reads books with the families, provides books and instructions for activities to do at home and teaches them how to make literacy a daily part of their lives – simply by reading street signs as they drive by or counting money in a grocery checkout line.
The sessions took place at McDonald’s, 1717 Vista Chino in Palm Springs.
Tuesday’s session was the last, but McDonald’s plans to expand the program in early 2007.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, literacy, newspaper, storytelling, The Desert Sun
Posted by admin on 11.27.2006 at 8:17 pm
Thanksgiving is the typical time to feel grateful for what you have, so I hear. To tell the truth, I’m not one to be sentimental and usually the primary thought that crosses my mind on Thanksgiving is “When do we eat?”
This past Thursday, my role in Better World Books really hit it home for me that I am really, really lucky. I’m more than well-fed, I’ve got a college degree under my belt, and I have access to health care: a trifecta of good fortune.
Normally, I think about such achievements as the product of hard work and intellect, not the environment of opportunities I was born into. “Gee, I’m really glad that I wasn’t surrounded by violence, famine, and an AIDS crisis when I was a kid,” is usually not my first thought about how my life’s events have unfolded. Living in the United States, it’s easy to forget how lucky I’ve been, since most of the time I interact with people who are equally fortunate.
Considering the relationship between poverty, war, disease and illiteracy, it’s a no-brainer that education must be improved for children who aren’t as lucky as myself, here in the U.S. and worldwide.
Like I said, I’m not one for sentimentality, but I’m really grateful that Better World Books has engaged so many people in this mission of literacy — and I’m grateful that our BWB partners (including students, professors, librarians and bookstore managers) take part in this mission year-round, not just on a turkey-filled holiday.
Posted by admin on 11.16.2006 at 12:30 am
There are innumerable benefits to coordinating a campus book drive, for student leaders and bookstores alike. The most obvious, of course, is the tremendous amount of material and financial support that Better World Books is able to provide to our literacy partners as a result of their hard work.
For student organizations, spearheading a drive is not only a meaningful service project, but also a successful fundraiser, as well as a great way to generate some buzz and raise your profile on campus, which can lead to a greater recruitment turn out.
For bookstores, supporting a drive drives foot traffic to your store, and does wonders in terms of generating goodwill toward your store – particularly during buy-back, when it’s needed most. Many stores are taking the positive PR one step further, by providing bookstore scholarships or making donations to local charities with funds provided by BWB.
But in many cases, there are far greater – yet harder to measure – implications to coordinating a book drive. For example, many of the 900+ BWB book drives that took place last Spring were coordinated by Alternative Breaks groups. Alternative Breaks is an amazing organization that provides students with the opportunity to engage in week-long, intensive service-learning projects over Winter and/or Spring Break, as opposed to hitting the beach for a week of debauchery.
These groups often use the funding they’ve generated through their campus book drive to subsidize the expense of sending large groups of students to a distant locale for a week of service. Speaking from experience (I participated in 3 Alternative Breaks as an undergrad), I can tell you that some of the students who participate in these trips will have the most profound, defining experiences of their lives. Some of these students will be so deeply moved that they will alter their course of study and their chosen career paths. Some of them will choose a life of service as a direct result of having participated in an Alternative Break. Indeed, most of the choices I’ve made in my own professional life can be traced back to my first Alternative Break in 1997, when I traveled from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia to work with the city’s homeless population.
So please, dig deeper. Look beyond the most obvious and immediate benefits of coordinating (or simply supporting) a campus book drive. There is such great potential in cultivating a civically engaged student body. One act – be it donating a book, coordinating a drive, or supporting a student organization that is – can set off a chain reaction that will dramatically affect the lives of far more people than you’ll ever know. Pay it forward.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, book drive, bookstore, campus, literacy
Posted by admin on 11.06.2006 at 9:10 am
Tomorrow is Election Day, and everyone needs to get excited about getting out and casting their ballot. This is an off-year election, which means only that the presidential race does not coincide with the senatorial race. Voter turnout is typically low despite the importance of the issues on the ballot. CNN says that they are only anticipating a voter turn out around 40%. Well, let’s see what will be on the ballot tomorrow…
35 House seats, 33 Senate seats, governorships in 36 states, not to mention thousands of state legislative and other local races. There are also other ballot initiatives in 37 states, where voters have the opportunity to voice their opinions on such issues as the minimum wage, or stem cell research.
So obviously there is a reason to get out the vote!
You see, I believe this is a travesty that so many of those who have the right to vote are not taking advantage of this opportunity to have their voice be heard. I know you care because you are here visiting our site. Better World Books is engaged in a socially responsible business effort to improve the literacy rate in the US and around the world. More importantly perhaps, Better World Books seeks to empower college students who care about this issue, and give them the opportunity to make a difference. Illiteracy is a woman’s issue, it is a poverty issue, a hunger issue, a social justice issue, etc. Whatever your cause, wherever lies your passion, illiteracy almost definitely has an impact on that issue.
So what does your vote have to do with that? This is an important time in US History because our nation is arguably still the single most powerful and influential country in the world, and has the capability of making a huge dent in the lives of the hundreds of millions of illiterate individuals around the world.
What this means is your vote, is more then just casting a ballot for your local races, it has an impact which resounds far beyond your hometown communities or your state, because it has an international influence. You have a responsibility to show your support for the candidates that reflect your convictions, and who are going to best represent you and your passions.
Go tell your friends, your family, your neighbors, whomever. Tell everyone you know to go vote. Voting is power.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, literacy, literacy statistics, voting
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