children and community service

Greens Farms Academy donates books to Wonderland BookSavers

By Madeline

A few weeks ago, Greens Farms Academy, a private co-ed school in Westport, Connecticut, donated several boxes of books to Wonderland BookSavers.

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Posing with the donated books. Left to right: Madeline; Claire; Christine Fecteau, Lower School Librarian and Director of Library Services; Emma

We are thrilled to add Greens Farms Academy to our list of community partners, and we will be donating their books to the schools in Africa we support. Our community partner, Mark Grashow, the President and Co-Founder of US Africa Children’s Fellowship, told us that we “currently are supporting the education of 170,000 children in 350 schools in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ghana.” These books will have a tremendous impact, and will enable many children to further their education.

Greens Farms Academy also has several outreach initiatives of its own, including the World Perspectives Program, Seed to Table, and a Sustainability Council. These programs focus on both local community service and involving students in their global community.bringingbookstocar.JPGTeam Wonderland BookSavers is grateful for the books Greens Farms Academy has donated to us, and we will use these books to continue fulfilling our mission of promoting global literacy.

 

The Sneetch Event: From Our Local Library to Bridgeport to Haiti

By Madeline

Back in June 2015, Wonderland BookSavers donated 850 books to the Barnum School in Bridgeport, CT.

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Donating books to the Barnum School in June

We spoke with the librarian, Maureen D’Ascanio, and she told us about the kids’ interests. She explained the hardships children at Barnum School face in their daily lives. Many of the children live in dire conditions and do not receive much support from their parents. Reading, she explained, is critical for a child’s success in all subjects at school. A love and understanding of literature and reading must be instilled at a young age to broaden a child’s academic capabilities and success.

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A poster hanging from the ceiling at Barnum School’s Library

Dr. Seuss books are the favorite books of the younger kids at Barnum School. Dr. Seuss books are iconic and widely appreciated, making them less likely to be donated and given away. The books possess alluring creativity and an appealing rhyme scheme, making them very popular to younger readers. On the library shelves, we could see the prized pittance of Dr. Seuss books. Due to the demand and popularity of the Dr. Seuss books, children were not permitted to check those books out of the school library. So, we decided to raise money to purchase Dr. Seuss books for the kids at Barnum School.

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The Barnum School’s Dr. Seuss books before our donation

Wonderland BookSavers does not need money to operate. The only exceptions would be our annual bake sale at Pequot Library, Lemonade for Literacy, where we make lemonade and bake treats and use our earnings to purchase books for five dollars a box during the last day of the sale. The other exception is for our very recent project of purchasing $1,000 worth of Haitian-Creole books for the children we donate to in Haiti. The money was donated to us by our partner and sponsor, Zoe Barry, founder and CEO of ZappRx. In order to raise money, we decided to have a Dr. Seuss-themed fundraiser. We organized a community event at our local library, Pequot Library. We prepared materials and ideas, and sent out flyers to publicize the event. The library helped us to prepare. We took newspapers, and laid them across the floor. We then placed large refrigerator cardboard boxes on the newspaper. On a table, we set up paper bowls, an assortment of paintbrushes, and tempera paint.

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We set a fifteen-dollar admission rate for this event to raise money for Dr. Seuss books. When the children arrived, we ushered them to a blanket we had laid on the floor, and everyone sat down. The children’s librarian, Miss Susan, began story time. Before she began to read, Miss Susan handed out green stars to some people. During the story, when the Sneetches took their stars on and off, everyone would switch stars and take turns having stars and being starless. Everyone listened as she read The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss.

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Miss Susan with her star-bellied Sneetch stuffed animal

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Miss Susan begins to read The Sneetches and Other Stories

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Everyone listens to Miss Susan read The Sneetches and Other Stories

When she had finished reading, we asked the children what they thought the moral of the story was. Their consensus was that it didn’t matter if the Sneetches had stars or not, they were all the same. We discussed how this was actually a larger theme: you should not discriminate against others because of their looks.

 

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After reading and discussing the story, we explained the next portion of the event- building the Sneetch machine. Everyone began to paint the machine.paintingsneetchmachine

We took a smaller box, designated it as our tower, and painted it yellow. We painted the tunnel and main chamber of the machine red. With duct tape, we made streamers to cover the entrance of the tunnel. We made green stars, and while you were going through the machine, you could either put a star on, or take a star off. Once the paint had dried, we cut a large hole at one end of largest box. We placed a slide at the exit, and everyone took turns sliding out of the machine.

willsslidingoutofsneetchmachinekidcomingoutofsneetchmachineWe left our machine at the library for a few weeks, and eventually dismantled the machine before we brought it to the Barnum School, which is where the machine now resides.

About a month after our event at Pequot Library, we purchased Dr. Seuss books with the money we had made from our fundraiser, and headed to the Barnum school with decorating supplies, a large banner,some Haitian-Creole books to show the children, and the new Dr. Seuss books.

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Haitian-Creole Books

We showed the children their new Dr. Seuss books, and we then proceeded to hold our Sneetch-related activities.

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Emma and Brooks Morgan pose with the Dr. Seuss books we donated to the Barnum School

We spent the afternoon with three classes of first-graders as they had their library time. We did the same activities with all three groups. First, we would read The Sneetches and Other Stories, and discuss the morals.

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Next, we would read and show the children the Haitian-Creole books. After everyone had a chance to look at the Creole books, the kids got to decorate the Sneetch machine in shifts and write a few words and make drawings on the banner we sending to Haiti. But what they were most excited about by far was getting to go through the Sneetch machine.

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Everyone lines up to ride the Sneetch machine

The kids lined up, eagerly anticipating their turn to go through the machine. We handed everyone out toy money, like the money the Sneetches paid to go through the machines in the book, and they slipped the money into the admissions box and crawled through the tunnel, walked to the exit, and rode down the slide.

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Brooks and I (Madeline) making a tunnel as the children take turns sliding out of the machine

After repeating the activities with each class, we packed up our Creole books and rolled the enormous poster with the names, notes, and drawings of each first-grader scrawled inside. The Sneetch machine and has traveled from our local library to the Barnum School’s library. Our poster brimming with the drawings and messages from Connecticut children will be received by children in Haiti.

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Kids working on the poster

The Sneetches and Other Stories has made an impact in our community, at the Barnum school, and will soon make an impact in Haiti. Where will reading take you?

There is no frigate like a book… to take us to Boston

By Madeline

On December 8, Team WBS traveled to the Floating Hospital for Children in Boston at Tufts Medical Center. We drove from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts, bringing with us 2,000 books boxed and categorized by level. Our car was brimming with our books, team members Reid, Brooks Morgan, Emma, Claire, Madeline, our mothers, and a handcart to transport our books.

Upon arriving at the hospital, we were greeted by medical staff, and members of the ZappRx team. We clambered out of the car and began loading boxes of books onto the cart. Together, we pushed and guided the cart into the hospital and into the elevator.

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The steel doors of the elevator opened, and we pushed and carried our books out. Hospital employees welcomed us, and gave us a tour of the hospital. We were informed about the program Reach Out and Read, which the Floating Hospital for Children endorses. Reach Out and Read is a literacy program where whenever children come to the hospital, doctors check their literacy, and each child is allowed to choose a book and bring it home.

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Meeting hospital staff

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A poster for Reach Out and Read

Once familiar with the hospital and its program, we began to unload our books and stock the empty shelves. We organized books by age groups: infant to five years old, kindergarten to third grade, fourth to eighth grade, and high school.

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An organized cabinet of middle and high school books that we donated

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A little girl chooses a book

We filled all the shelves with our books, and left a surplus for the hospital to restock with.

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Left to right: Claire, Madeline, Reid, Emma, and Brooks Morgan. Posing with some of the books we donated

After departing from the hospital, we headed towards Wellesley, ate lunch, and then proceeded to The Rare Books Collection at Wellesley College where we examined many antiquated, priceless, texts. Some of the texts we saw include a first edition of Martin Luther’s Bible, the first mobile-print Book of Amos, a first edition of Newton’s Principio, a first edition of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius, and a medieval manuscript containing religious songs and illustrations.

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Sidereus Nuncius

We were able to touch, hold, and examine the books, and the librarians proffered a plethora of information about the content, history, and acquisition of each text.

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Book of Amos

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Looking at Sidereus Nuncius

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Newton’s Principio

Our excursion to Wellesley marked the end of our trip. We headed home with our car devoid of the books it had carried to Boston, and our minds filled with the knowledge and experiences we had acquired throughout the day.

Sweet Seuss Success!!

Some of you may remember this forlorn collection of Dr. Seuss books owned by a local school library.

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The librarian requested that we assist her with Dr. Seuss books for her collection. She stated, “Dr. Seuss is a favorite.  The easy rhyme schemes are appealing to children and greatly aid early literacy efforts.”  We posted the request on our home page and Pequot Library noticed!

Pequot Library hosts an annual Book Sale for which it collects thousands of books.

IMG_2451The Director selected multiple Dr. Seuss titles. The school librarian was able to purchase these books through the Bucks for Books program.

download (1)Look for our special Dr. Seuss reading program which we will be doing with both libraries this summer and fall, featuring The Sneetches and Other Stories from our One Book: One World program.

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Who Says Standardized Tests Can’t Taste Good?

Gooseberry Fool

Now that it is July, I finally have the time to complete the Iowa tests. And what do I find in the middle of the reading comprehension section?

 A perfectly wonderful recipe for Gooseberry Fool!

 Being no fool, I promptly set aside my test (after the required 25 minutes) and begin cooking!

 I hope to continue my testing session by rolling down hills while eating Gooseberry Fool, as suggested by the directions in the reading passage!
 Ahh! Nothing tests better than a good standardized taste!

Time Butterflies When You’re Having Fun

By Claire

Today on this dreamy summer afternoon, after reading the book Wings of Light by Stephen R. Swinburne, Wonderland BookSavers teamed with junior members to create our very own butterflies.

After reading the book, our little siblings were captivated by the descriptive language and beautiful illustrations, all of which contributed to portraying the journey of the little yellow butterflies on their way from the rainforest up to Vermont. This inspired the WBS Junior members to make their own (rather messy) renditions of the art.


To make your own book-inspired butterflies, you will need:

  • Paper
  • Paint( we used blue, yellow and pink)
  • Containers or plates for the paint
  • Paint brushes
  • A surface that you don’t mind messing up( we used cardboard)
  • Glitter( optional)
  • And, most importantly, cute little hands that don’t mind getting messy!

First, paint your hand. Get creative!  We made stripes, hearts, polka dots and swirls using the paint and brushes. Little Wills even stamped his hand on the plate of paint without making a specific pattern. His butterfly turned out to be very abstract!


 Next, stamp your hand on one side of your paper. Be sure to press down hard and try not to move your hand too much, as this helps to keep the design clearer.

  
After stamping your first hand, you can either paint your other hand and stamp it as you did with your first hand, or you can fold the paper in half and press it down to make the same design on both wings. The Wonderland BookSavers experimented with both, and both methods turned out wonderfully.

Once you have completed both wings, use your fingers or the paint brush to make a head, body, and antennas for your little butterfly. To enhance the effect, sprinkle some glitter over your wet paint.

  
  Voila!  Your book-inspired butterflies are finished. Time Butterflies when you’re having fun!

Literally Lunchtime by Maddie

On Tuesday we held a meeting to commemorate the end of an Asian themed selection of books.

IMG_8321For each book or set of books that we read, we choose a project. Wonderland BookSavers is both a book club and a global charity; this project was for our team book club.

inside out and back againLeaving Vietnam coverwater buffalo coverchinese cinderella coverWe read Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, Leaving Vietnam, by Tuan Ngo, Water Buffalo Days, by Huynh Quang Nhuong and Chinese Cinderella, by Yen Mah. Each of these stories is an autobiographical account of a childhood marked by displacement due to war. These stories are set in different countries, and are from different perspectives. Water Buffalo Days is from a young boy’s point of view. Inside Out and Back Again poetically reflects a young girl’s perspective. Chinese Cinderella narrates a young girl’s life from birth through college, and Leaving Vietnam portrays displacement through a young boy’s eyes. Through these tales we learned of the difficulties children face when the world around them falls apart. They are forced to adapt to extreme challenges and must become adults in entirely foreign circumstances.

One refrain among the four books was the desire of each child to return to “home.” We decided that a fitting activity for this set of books was to investigate what would constitute “home” cooking for these four children. Using the Usborne Children’s World Cookbook, we researched simple and typical Asian food.2632879Our meal included: Egg drop soup, cold sesame noodles, chicken satay, and fried rice.IMG_8052It took us about two hours to cook all the food, then we served our soup, rice, satay, and noodles all at once on a table. We did everything authentically, except eating with chopsticks. We cooked all of the food methodically, following the directions exactly. It was far different from just throwing everything in, and the result was that it was time consuming, but the taste was well worth the wait. It was a very delicious end to our Asian selection in literature.