Literacy is the dedicated purpose of Books for a Better World. We seeks to inspire, to empower, and to motivate children in developing nations by establishing libraries in rural schools all over the world. Books for a Better World was established to help break the cycle of illiteracy that cripples developing nations.
Often, there are no books and the school day is dull and lacks any stimulation. There is little reason to attend school thus the children drop out and illiteracy continues. Most children have never seen a book that is not a schoolbook and there is not much connection between learning the vowels, learning to sound out words and reading a story. Children's literature increases a children's ability to imagine, to think analytically and to experience the world with greater compassion. The ability to read is empowering.
BBW buys and delivers new books to schools that are often in remote locations where reliable mail or courier service is not yet available. We send volunteers with the books to ensure delivery as well as to engage the students who receive them.
In the most rural areas of these countries, less than 25% of the population completes 6th grade. In some villages, fewer than half of the students continue beyond the third grade. There are many reasons for this. One is that life in rural areas is labor intensive. Children have many chores to do at home and in the field. Most of the parents are laborers who see little value in education, and in most schools the day is dull and uninspiring. Although the government provides workbooks in mathematics, science, social studies, and Spanish language, there is no literature. There are no storybooks, no legends and no poetry. The school day, which is only four hours long, is filled with memorizing and reciting facts. There is little to inspire creativity, to encourage thinking or to expand one's awareness of the world. We seek to change that!
• To cultivate a love of learning
• To create the habit of reading
• To increase self-esteem
• To increase language skills, both oral comprehension and speaking ability
• To open the world for young students through the magic of literature
• To inspire imagination through the beauty of language and illustrations
• To cultivate humor and a sense of well being as one learns to laugh at oneself and with others
Books for a Better World selects high quality books that appeal to children who have little or no experience with children's literature. Most of them do not know that reading can be fun until BBW volunteers come to their school and read aloud with them. The children are so excited when they see the new books! Often, we have to carefully maintain order in the classroom because so many children want to be the first one to read the dinosaur book or fairytale. Most importantly, every book must meet the "smile" test and be designed to make a child smile!
Books for a Better World was founded in 2000 by Kae Robb, a former middle school Spanish teacher from Phoenix Arizona. With the help of several eager volunteers, Kae began to deliver books to Guatemala…one backpack at a time. She was determined, enthusiastic and extremely optimistic—characteristics that proved her well! Only just a few short years later, the number of schools BBW served jumped from a handful in Guatemala to nearly 40 in and around Mexico, Central and South America. In 2010, BBW is on track to deliver over 4,000 books to 70 - 75 little libraries in Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala!
Books for a Better World became a 501(c)(3) in 2000 and a Guide Star Certified nonprofit in 2002. We strive to keep administrative overhead at a minimum. Currently BBW is an all-volunteer organization. Most volunteers who deliver books pay their own way and typically stay with host families, keeping the costs at a minimum.