“Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Matthew 22:39

Oglala Lakota Nation

This summer the Wonderland BookSavers traveled, as a group, to South Dakota, to personally deliver 5,000 books to children living on Rosebud, Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Reservations.  The landscape was barren, but beautiful.  The children were welcoming and delighted in sharing their traditions, such as Indian Tacos, with us. Our books helped to build community libraries throughout the 10,000 square mile region.

Knot-Yet-a-Blanket & Book: Sloan Kettering Pediatric Oncology Delivery

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In honor of our absolutely favorite Children’s Librarian, Susan EI, of Pequot Library, who has always believed in the dreams of children, we donated these Blankets with the true hope that her dreams that all children should be healthy and happy will come true.  We know that Susan’s soul now soars with the children in Heaven.

Knot-Yet-a-Blanket & Book: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Delivery

IMG_1263We are happy to be able to contribute to  CHAD, Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Child Life Program.  This hospital was very supportive of one of our team members when he came in unexpectedly for an emergency visit.  Upon admission, he received a homemade gift which was welcoming and reassuring.  We are thankful we can help CHAD continue this tradition.

Knot-Yet-a-Blanket & Book: Brown Bag Comfort

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posing with the hospital clowns as we donate blankets

Knot-Yet-a-Blanket kits provide do-it-yourself comfort and entertainment for children who are suffering from diseases which require long term hospitalization.

One Knot Yet a Blanket & Book donation went to Lehigh Valley Hospital Muhlenberg Campus Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Ward in Allentown Pennsylvania.

IMG_6623Shannon, our WBS friend and long-time volunteer with the pediatric oncology program, shared them with the patients during their chemotherapy sessions.  She writes, “Just want to let you know that I took the Blanket Bags to the hospital and they were a huge hit! A few kids started making theirs immediately and we sent a few to some kids who are stuck in the hospital for inpatient treatments.”

Ghana

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South Africa

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Our books are in the best hands!

 Disney Youth Grant Awarded 2017

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Working together, Quinn, Maddie and Brooks secured this grant that will  direct many of our activities in 2017.  This grant will be the cornerstone of efforts to build local community awareness and involvement in boosting literacy rates both domestically and internationally by providing access to both paper and digital reading materials to children who lack basic reading supplies. This team-created video was one component of our application.

 7,500 Textbooks to South Africa

img_6183We spent all fall sorting through numerous donations from generous students and we contacted countries across the African continent.  South Africa has a strong education initiative and is receptive to building new schools.  They welcomed our donation of brand new textbooks, school supplies, reading and math manipulatives and primary school building toys.

Curious what it looks like to box that many books? Take a peak into our garage!

IMG_5795.jpgReid displays a sampling of the many textbooks we were able to gather and donate.

Andre and Brooks Encourage Reading

img_5046Literacy is important for everyone and one of our missions is to ensure that all children learn to love reading. We host book clubs at Pequot Library and at local schools throughout Connecticut, as well as our own online One Book: One World Book Club. Join us!

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Brooks and Brooks Tag Team at the Tag Sale for Books

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Zimbabwe Letters Reach Our Pen Pal Students

pen-pal-to-zimbabweMany American students are eager to connect with the students to whom they are donating books.  Despite the fact that Africa is a continent away, they feel closely connected because they know that the books they share will be read and loved by children just like themselves.  We have cautioned that the great distance and lack of regular postal systems makes pen pal relationships nearly impossible.  Our Massachusetts students were thrilled when they received a package of letters all the way from Zimbabwe…

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img_5134 We hope to travel, with Mark of US-Africa Children’s Fellowship, one of our community partners, to Zimbabwe one day soon.

ZappRx sponsors our Reach Out and Read Donations

img_5401ZappRx, one of our community partners, located in Boston and New York, provided us with a generous donation that allows us to provide thousands of quality books to Boston’s Reach Out and Read literacy program.  Our commitment to ZappRx is that we place a “Happy Reading from ZappRx” sticker in every book we donate to this program.

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ZappRz funding enabled us to become a 501(c)3 charity.  Thank you ZappRx!

Our Treasurer…

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Opens our first bank account, now that Wonderland BookSavers, Inc. is an official 501(c)3 charity!

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After making his first deposit, Reid writes his first check, a donation to …

Haiti

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We wanted to help our Haitian friends who suffered from the October 2016 hurricane. Susy showed us pictures of the school, to which we have sent many textbooks, in Cayes-Jacmel. In the pictures, rapids of muddy brown water race over the concrete platform of the school. The school in Cayes-Jacmel is open air, and consists of a concrete foundation with posts from which a tarp is draped over to provide shade, or protection from rain. Susy explained that now the school is being excavated from the thick layers of mud and debris.

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After meeting with Susy, we presented her with a check written by Reid to support the relief Haitian Educational Initiatives is providing.

Batwa Pygmy Tribe

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Books delivered by our Community Partner, Zoë Barry, Founder and CEO of ZappRx.


Rwanda and Uganda

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Books delivered by our Community Partner, Zoë Barry, Founder and CEO of ZappRx.


Reach Out and Read: Tufts Floating Pediatric Hospital

boston8With the help of the donations of many children we were able to bring over 1,000 picture books to Tufts Reach Out and Read Boston program.boston2“Those are really books in that box, I promise!”rortweetwbs

5,000 Books Packed for …

img_5562 South Africa and Uganda on a Hot Summer’s Day

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When shipping to South Africa, every box must be weighed and all the contents itemized.

But we had many friends to help us, and plenty of red t-shirts to share!


Guayaquil, Ecuador

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Brooks and Reid responded to the call for T-shirts needed for an orphanage located high in the hills of Ecuador. Within hours they had located over 100 T-shirts and were ready with their donation.


Lemonade for Literacy!

lemonadestand6The summer found us, as usual, hosting our annual “Lemonade for Literacy” stand at the Pequot Library’s 56th Annual Book Sale.

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We have lots of fun, buy tons of books and all of the proceeds go directly to the Pequot Library.  The books go all over the world.


Medieval Arts Summer Workshop

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A medieval manuscript prayerbook owned by Pequot Library

Because we love books, particularly beautiful ones, we decided to host a medieval arts workshop to celebrate the art of the illuminated manuscript and to enjoy the lost art of cursive writing and manuscript decoration.

We also shared our love of the outdoors by performing Shakespeare vignettes under the trees and studying original paintings in the Audubon book.


15,000 Books Packed for Zimbabwe and Ghana

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It takes awhile, but then when it’s done, it feels great, and we’re on to the next!


Haitian-Creole Native Language Books Arrive

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Letters of Love

Some of the greatest gifts that we can share with one another are the simple gifts of love and caring.  Children across the continents are so excited to get “mail” from other children.  We have been able to deliver 100’s of letters from groups of children to one another.

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From Massachusetts to Africa 

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These excited kids from Massachusetts discovered when they moved into their new school building that they had more books than they needed.  They did their research, determined to find a way to send their books to children in Africa, and they found us!

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Jacmel, Haiti

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Brooks with Susy and HEI Check

Susy, the President of Haitian Education Initiatives, asked us if we could help purchase books for her Haitian students in their native Creole language.  Although we don’t often buy books, we were able to do this ($1,099!) thanks to a gift from ZappRx.  We are very happy that young children and students will be better able to understand literature, math and science as their books will be in their own language.

Susy told us that the children in Jamel love getting letters from US children.   We invented “Poster Pals”.

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Here our Bridgeport friends are creating posters with notes and pictures for the children in Haiti. Susy will deliver the posters when she delivers the books.

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We look forward to our Haitian friends writing back! Poster Pals are the easy way to connect.


Zimbabwe

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This excited group of Cub Scouts has just completed their service project, led by Reid.  They have gathered 8 boxes of pencils, markers, crayons and rulers.  The school supplies are packed and ready for delivery.


Boston, MA

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We are very happy to be able, with the support of ZappRx,  to donate 2,000 young children’s books to the Reach Out & Read literacy program located in Tufts Pediatric Floating Hospital.  This program provides a free book to each child who receives free medical services.  Doctors have found that promoting early literacy helps with the overall health and well-being of the child.

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Reach Out & Read coordinator, Carole, said, “Listen carefully.  I am CHEERING that this will be a relationship past the holidays.  You have no idea how happy that makes me.  I want our clinics to be adopted.”  We plan to continue our support of this valuable mission.


Bridgeport, CT

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A school librarian asked for our help procuring Dr. Suess books.  We were able to bring an almost complete set (see top shelf). Emma read The Sneetches, a book that encourages inclusion of all, “A Sneetch is a Sneetch, and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beach.”

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We brought art supplies and helped the children build their very own life-sized Sneetch machine.

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Once it was done, “They kept coming through…” (Sneetches) 

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This project was so much fun for everyone.  In total, over 400 kids contributed to the building of the Sneetch machine. The librarian told us, “The Sneetch machine is still a hit with the kids!  Thank you so much for bringing this project to my school. My students are still decorating it and earning dollars to pass through the machine and earn their belly star!”


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We are very happy to be able to donate a half pallet (8 boxes) of toys.  132 pounds of fun! Finding toys to send is not as easy as you think.  They have to be unbroken, require neither electricity nor batteries, and have no missing parts. We know from our friend Mark, the importance of toys in education.  When Mark first donated one box of toys to a primary school he found, upon his return, that enrollment had increased by 60 pupils! All the children came to play with the toys. Reid, in particular, wants to donate more toys.


South Africa

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After a summer of Lemonade for Literacy stands and a long fall of sorting, boxing and labeling books we were ready for our largest donation of the season, an entire truck load of books for students in South Africa.  This donation includes boxes of elementary books filled with both fiction and non-fiction, as well as dozens of upper level texts for high school use.

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IMG_2514Andre and Brooks were given the opportunity to “hand pick” books to be donated to kids their age.  They picked some of their favorite books.IMG_3619And finally the truck was packed! South Africa requires that every box is labeled and weighed, so after careful calculations, we found that we sent 6,700 pounds of books!


Kenya

Reid’s school participated in the Kindness Challenge, 15 days of gathering shoes to donate to Kenya.  Together the school was able to donate 3,000 pairs of shoes to needy children!unnamed (3)

Reid searched through his Wonderland BookSaver collection, and was able to contribute 70 pairs of nearly new shoes! It was a heavy load for this 8-year old!IMG_3267


Bridgeport, CT

A 2nd grade teacher reached out to us saying, “I have just arrived in my classroom and found that we have no Social Studies books!” Our local 3rd grade Cub Scouts got right to work.  They found a complete set of 2nd grade text books, which they carefully cleaned until they sparkled. Textbook: Neighborhoods & Communities: The World Around Us. We found 12 copies of this text, to be shared with a class of 24.IMG_3061 (1)The Cub Scouts spent several weeks gathering dozens of books on a variety of appropriate topics, and  built an entire social studies curriculum, based upon the teacher’s requests.IMG_3233Collecting books is fun, especially when you can read them and know that other children will enjoy them just as much as you do! Our favorite was The Buffalo Jump!


 Jacmel, Haiti

Today we donated our entire collection of French children’s books to our Haitian partners.  We were so gratified to receive photographs of children reading the books we had previously donated.

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We also had the opportunity to interview the Director of Haitian Education Initiatives, Susy Whitcomb.  She said, “Think about your lives. You have all these beautiful books, several books for each subject and many adults who can help you learn. But Haitian children have no books.

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Many children have never seen a book until they come to school. There are no books in their homes and their parents cannot read. They have never had a story read to them so even as they learn to read the words they have trouble understanding that the words are telling a tale, just like the fireside stories they are use to listening to from their parents.

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We read to them so that they can understand that reading is done with inflection, not a monotone of words read without punctuation.” Ms. Whitcomb requested that we assemble children’s books written in the Haitian nation language of Creole. That is the next project we will be undertaking!


Zimbabwe

This morning we delivered our most recent boxes of clothes, blankets, books and medical supplies to our community partners who will be delivering these supplies to Zimbabwe on their annual summer trip.Reading-to-kids-in-africaThis picture illustrates the importance of even just one book.  We are hoping our Zimbabwe friends will be thrilled with our books and other supplies.IMG_2194We included a van full of hand made blankets, made by our sibling team, Project I.C.E.IMG_2186and an enormous case of bandages, donated by Nexcare 3M, and everyone’s favorite…IMG_2167cases of school supplies gathered by Reid and packed by Pierce!IMG_1973and a 33 volume encyclopedia! We are eager for photos from our Zimbabwe friends.


Bridgeport, CT Literacy Program

IMG_2138Hundreds of books contributed to a literacy program will enable children to bring books home to share with their families, as well as providing them with easy readers to assist with after school literacy programs.IMG_2200


Cuzco, Peru

Today we packed our lightest paperback books with very simple words, or with illustrations only.

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We packed our smallest packages of toys, card games, alphabet cards and simple math games.  And we packed a very large, and air-light case of Nexcare 3M bandages.  Items will be delivered via backpack!

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We are excited to say that our books will be traveling to the top of the world!  We wonder what they will think of our Princess and Spider-Man sticker books?