Wonderland BookSavers: Our Literature-Inspired Journey to Donating over 60,000 Books Worldwide

By Madeline

Below is the article I sent in to Destination Imagination. They asked for DI teams in the service learning category to send in articles about their service experience with DI. Our article may even be featured on DI’s blog! If our article does get put on their website, I will include the link at the top of this article.

And without further ado, the article.

Wonderland BookSavers: Our Literature-Inspired Journey to Donating over 60,000 Books Worldwide

Our charity Wonderland BookSavers was founded in 2012, and our DI story began soon after. When we learned that our local library was shredding books to be made into newspaper, we decided to ask if we could take the books instead and donate them to a local school lacking books. The library agreed to give their books to us instead of shredding them, and we made our first book donation of 685 books to New Beginnings Family Academy in Bridgeport, CT. Since then, our project has expanded significantly. We are now a 501(c)(3), and we have donated over 60,000 books throughout the US and world.

Each DI challenge we have been faced with has helped our charity immensely. Whether the challenge has been to make a video, rattle-off an elevator pitch, expand our charity’s brand, or hold a community event and create a timeline and meme about our project, we have always been able to see the massive benefits created through completing each challenge. The challenge this year, The Meme Event, has prompted us to think outside the box and raise awareness about our charity through our community event, timeline and meme.

Our timeline helps us to convey our charity’s history, which is important for our community partners to know. Also included on our timeline are our current projects, and our goals for each year. Ultimately, the timeline helps our community partners to understand our past successes and our upcoming ambitions while also helping our team have a vision of our direction, guiding us to our goals.

The meme has also proved to be useful in our project. Our meme is able to convey a considerable amount of information even though it is just a picture with words. Our meme inspires a call to action and succinctly informs people on how to get involved. The idea behind our meme is to show people the five simple steps they can make the world a better place with literature. The last step in our meme is spreading the word about our project and charity, which fits perfectly with the concept of a meme- memes are easily spread, easily understood, and when people share our meme with others, they are actually making a huge impact in our community and the world.

We utilized both our timeline and our meme during our community event. We first talked about our charity, using our timeline to discuss the events leading up to our project and our hopes for the future and impact of our project. We showed three classes of first-graders and their librarian at the Barnum School in Bridgeport how to complete the five steps of our meme. We demonstrated this by first reading The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss and some Haitian-Creole books, next discussing the positive and inspiring message shown during the story of the Sneetches, then helping the kids create and decorate a Sneetch machine similar to the star-on and star-off machines from the story. We then presented the Barnum School with a new collection of Dr. Seuss books for their school library, and lastly, we created a banner with notes and drawings for the children in Haiti.

Team Wonderland BookSavers is so grateful for the creativity and guidance bestowed upon us by Destination Imagination. Our past and present DI challenges have led us to new opportunities, and we are excited to have this year’s challenge bloom into another chapter of our charity. Through this year’s challenge, we have already been able to raise $1,099, and with those funds we purchased 200 Haitian-Creole books for the schools we partner with in Haiti. Where will reading take you?

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A picture of a first-grader coming out of the Sneetch-machine during our community event

Written by Madeline Langdon on behalf of her DI team, Wonderland BookSavers (Madeline Langdon (16), Claire Langdon (16), Emma Langdon (14), Brooks Barry (12), Andre Mead (12), Brooks Langdon (11), and Reid Barry (9))

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