Better World Books Launches LEAP!

THANK YOU CUSTOMERS AND BWB COMMUNITY! Because of you, Better World Books has just launched LEAP! LEAP stands for Literacy and Education in Action Program, and this initiative helps make targeted, high-impact literacy projects happen all over the world.

Since our foundation in 2003, Better World Books raised over $9M in funds for literacy so far. Most of these funds have been given to our non-profit and library partners as non-restricted funding; meaning that it’s up to these world-class organizations to find the best ways to use these funds.

The LEAP is different. This new program will be designated for specific projects. Projects which you will now be able to track, start to finish at It’s one thing to hear that a portion of every purchase you make on goes to support literacy, but we thought it was important for our community to be able to see and hear the stories behind projects, to see evidence of the impact we’re making together.

Check out LEAP here, or read more about each project…
Each project was chosen by BWB’s Literacy Council. This Council of cross-functional BWB employees focus on our Partners; liaising between our organizations, tracking progress, recommending new projects/programs, etc. Here are the recipients for this semi-annual program:

Books for Africa – $22,966
This is really 4 grants that combined will ensure 81,000 books, valued at $607,500, will reach 43 libraries and 83 schools in Africa. Many organizations make requests of Books for Africa to send them books, but the funds required to get books across the Atlantic and to their destination are hard to come by. So when a request is made, the fund-raising begins, and some requesting organizations in Africa often wait multiple years to get their shipment while they drum up support. Through this grant to Books for Africa, we will cover the entire remaining not-yet-raised cost to ship books to four organizations operating across Africa.

Invisible Children – $22,000
Invisible Children’s Teacher Exchange program was created to enhance present educational models, and to establish long-term learning opportunities for both international and Ugandan teachers. Teachers in northern Uganda have limited opportunities for personal and professional development. Classrooms in the north typically have huge student numbers, often complicated by a lack of space, a lack of furniture, and a lack of textbooks and other resources. The program will bring six Ugandan teachers to the U.S. for a week long intensive teacher-training program after which they will return to their schools and spread what they’ve learned.

Room to Read – $15,334
Room to Read’s Local Language Publishing Program grew out of a need to source high-quality, colorful, culturally-relevant, and age-appropriate books for Room to Read-built libraries. This program works with local writers and illustrators to create and publish high-quality local language children’s books for these libraries. This new book will be the first Better World Books-sponsored children’s book created from scratch and will be distributed in an area craving local-language children’s content in order to build a love of reading and independent readers across the country from an early age.

Room to Read: New Reading Rooms in India and Laos – $10,000
Room to Read’s Reading Room program establishes bilingual libraries filled with local language and English children’s books, posters, maps, and games that engage children in reading. This grant will allow two libraries to be built, one in India and one in Laos. Room to Read will determine the specific communities for these libraries soon. Each one will be built in an existing school that averages 250 children and has between three and ten teachers each year. Both of these libraries will be completed by the end of 2011, and one thing we love about this project is that these libraries get support for a full three years including training, additional books, and ongoing maintenance.

National Center for Family Literacy – $20,000 Grant
All you need to develop your sense of wonder in reading is a computer, an internet connection, and this url: But so many children in poor communities across the country don’t have these items. This grant to the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) will allow them to provide computers to 200 communities so kids in those communities can access Wonderopolis. With daily content and a vibrant community, Wonderopolis is like an ideal playground designed to get families connecting and reading together.

Worldfund – $19,700
Worldfund’s Amiga Cartonera program for primary and secondary students in Mexico trains teachers with techniques based on methods developed at Harvard University that inspire critical thinking and a love of reading through the arts. They brought the program to their partner school Mano Amiga Chalco in July 2008, and since then it has influenced the way that hundreds of low-income students annually look at literature and conceive the potential of their own lives. The teachers and artists then shared the methodology with a majority of the teaching staff at Mano Amiga Chalco, thereby enriching the entire curriculum of the school. While each semester 60 – 65 students participate directly in the program with the Cartonera teachers, all 990 of the school’s students benefit indirectly.

Robinson Community Learning Center – $10,000 Grant
For this round of LEAP projects, we’ve awarded them a grant to continue and enhance an effective inner-city youth literacy program that educates its members by reading and performing Shakespeare. The Robinson Center offers a six week intensive summer Shakespeare program for inner city urban youth during summer of 2011. The camp will serve 20-25 inner-city youth between the ages of ten and seventeen. They will receive instruction in the essentials of theatre through a variety of workshops that include: voice, text analysis, improvisation, Shakespeare studies, movement, theatre games, stage combat, lighting, set, and costume design. RCLC is addressing the need for a safe summer and after school environment for youth while recognizing the positive educational assets that are gained by theatre studies: confidence, self-esteem, communication skills, reading comprehension, and an appreciation of youth by the community.

Prison Book Program: – $5,000 Grant
The Prison Book Program (PBP) has a noble goal, support prisoners that genuinely want to change their lives. Prisoners have limited access to educational materials, and PBP provides them with free books for personal development during incarceration. They do so because education is a powerful tool that reduces the likelihood that a prisoner will return to the prison system. According to the Department of Justice, 77% of prisoners have not received a high school diploma. Yet GEDs are necessary for almost any job, and a New York Department of Corrections study showed that prisoners who earn their GED are up to 14% less likely to return to prison within the next three years. The grant will provide GED test-preparation materials and dictionaries to 220 prisoners selected by the PBP.


  1. I’m new to your blog. Our community library is interested in applying for the LEAP project grant. I have seen the application but where do we send it?
    Thanks very much

  2. Pingback: Your Books In Action » BWB on Campus - Better World Books on Campus

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