We are so gratified to have received this letter and these wonderful photographs:
Dear John and Josh and Wonderland BookSavers,
The children of Fondation Jean Bellande Joseph in Cayes-Jacmel send heartfelt thanks for the beautiful books created by the students in John McMillan and Josh Cummings’ French classes from Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center in Chicago, and delivered to us by Allie through Wonderland BookSavers.
The books were a stunning success!
First, there were enough for everyone, which is a big issue in the distribution of gifts. Very few students have books of their very own outside required textbooks and access to our growing library.
Our kids immediately grasped the hard work that went into the composition and illustration of the books, and the laminating insured their longevity – so necessary in Haiti.
There was a book about a pig given to one of the girls who shared the same name and that provoked a torrent of giggles. (Her friends all that that was very appropriate.)
Standing up to read your books was an important exercise in public speaking.
Our students, aged 3-19, are in primary and secondary schools in a semi-rural area outside Jacmel, on the South coast of Haiti. Their parents are subsistence farmers who live on about $1.25 per day. Most of their parents are illiterate and really struggle to keep their kids fed, clothed and in school. We provide scholarships, food and job training to 67 kids in this area who spend every Saturday with us. Many of the kids in the photographs are much older than they look because their growth was stunted by malnutrition in early childhood but they are thriving now with us!
You might be interested to know that the administrator of our program, who is a Haitian Education Department official, said that most Haitian children would not be able to produce books like this because they are not encouraged to do any kind of creative writing. They generally learn by rote and don’t have the resources or tradition of branching out into projects like this. We have challenged our kids to develop books of their own and I hope they’ll be inspired by your models.
Please thank all the students whose talent and care brought such delight to our kids.
Very best wishes to you all,