Wonderland BookSavers

Team Wonderland BookSavers Leads Medieval Art Workshop at Pequot Library

By Madeline

Last week, WBS team members Madeline, Claire, Emma and Brooks Morgan led a medieval art workshop at Pequot Library. We examined medieval literature, reflecting especially on the process of creating manuscripts. We also instructed on how to create illuminated manuscripts and write in different cursive styles. Additionally, we read medieval stories and taught Roman Numerals and the medieval calendar system–which operates by recognizing certain days and showing the distance of regular days from the special days to account for time.

During the Middle Ages, manuscripts were one of the few viable ways to preserve information. These books were created by first making parchment. The process of making parchment consisted of first obtaining goat or cow skin. Next, the skin would be soaked in water and lye and cleaned to remove any fibers. The skin would then be stretched to dry, and lastly, the skin would be cut into pieces of parchment. The parchment would then be sewn into gatherings, and the gatherings would be bound into a book. Lastly, clasps would be added to keep the book shut and protect the manuscript. Then, scribes would embark on the lengthy process of copying information into the book, and illuminating certain letters. Lastly, any images would be drawn or painted and the book would be complete.

On the first day, we along with Beth Beaudin, the Special Collections Consultant of Pequot Library, surveyed the process of manuscript making. We also began to teach basic cursive to the children.

Every day we had a snack and recess break, where we played “discus” (frisbee) and “Bubonic Plague” (the game infection, where one person is “it”, and they along with people who have been tagged tag others until only one person is left). We also played “capture the crown”, which was our medieval version of capture the flag.

During the second day we introduced calligraphic cursive styles and how to write in medieval handwriting. The children transcribed poems and also practiced writing their names. We taught the children about the medieval calendar and how to use Roman Numerals. Towards the end of the day, everyone began creating the skeletons for their illuminated letters. We also visited The Birds of America, a book by John James Audubon with a compilation of life-size, chromolithographic American birds.

For the third day, we focused on nobility, coats of arms, and finishing the illuminated letters. Everyone was able to design and create a coat of arms to wear which represented their interests or personality. The zenith of the week was being able to examine a book made in 1190–the oldest book in Pequot Library’s collection. The manuscript was a letter from Pope Gregory on proper behavior and conduct. We also had a guest speaker come and teach about Shakespeare, and we acted out scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Examining the manuscript from 1190

 

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The fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

On the final day of camp, everyone made crowns and armor, finished the cursive books which we began on Monday, and reflected on everything learned during the week. The children collected their amassed number of projects, crowns, letters, books and sheets, and we headed out to play our final game of “capture the crown”.

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Campers wearing crowns and coats of arms

It was incredible to immerse ourselves and other children in medieval studies, and we will look forward to continuing the medieval theme with the reading program this summer at Pequot Library.

 

 

 

Wonderland BookSavers Donates 15,000 Books to Zimbabwe and Ghana

By Madeline

On Thursday June 9, Team Wonderland BookSavers donated 15,000 books which are currently headed to Zimbabwe and Ghana. Along with the books, we also donated over 100 letters written by the children at the Wetherbee School in Massachusetts. These letters will be going to children in Zimbabwe.

We methodically sorted the books based on whether they were primary or secondary reading level. Then, we packed the sorted books into labeled boxes.

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Our community partner Mark Grashow, the president and co-founder of US Africa Children’s Fellowship, came with a tractor-trailer for us to fill with our books which will be delivered to Africa. When Mark arrived, we began loading our books into his truck.

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We carefully arranged the boxes to maximize the space and to ensure that the boxes were secure so the books would be safe.

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After we finished laboriously transporting the heavy boxes of books from our palettes in the garage into Mark’s truck, Mark pulled out some pictures from his trips to Africa. He showed us children holding our books, and also recounted some stories of the children’s excitement when they receive our books.

I had the chance to interview Mark:

We are excited for our books to arrive in Zimbabwe and Ghana, and we can’t wait to see pictures and hear more stories about the children receiving our books!

 

 

There is no frigate like a book…to take us to Sturbridge Village

Written by Emma and Brooks Morgan

A few weeks ago, Brooks Morgan and I traveled to Massachusetts to visit Sturbridge Village.

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Left to right: Brooks Morgan, Junior Wonderland BookSaver Wills, Emma, and Junior Wonderland BookSaver Ella

Sturbridge Village is a reenactment town that contains houses, stores, and villagers that do the jobs that would have been done in the 1830s. There are potters, shoe makers, farmers, tin makers, women gardening, and just people walking through the streets. All of these people are in character and doing their jobs and answering questions so that visitors can see what it would have been like in that time period.

There are also classes for students and we took Wood lore. We walked around the town learning about trees and special properties of these trees. One of our favorites was a tree that had a sap which closes and heals wounds, and we both put the sap on our minor scrapes on our fingers, and to our surprise, it actually did help heal. Our instructor used his knife to cut bark off a section of a tree, and showed us how to make a container to boil water in so that in the rare occasion that we were stuck in the woods alone, we would be able to collect water and prepare food. He used clips made out of sticks that he cut a slot in to hold the whole container together. We were both fascinated by this technique since he literally took a cylinder piece of bark and cut it and folded it into this container.

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After our class we walked around the town doing activities. At the school house, we practiced walking on stilts and successfully managed doing about 10 steps.

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We had a picnic lunch in the center of the town at the big green grass area, and afterwards went from house to house and shop to shop and going in to see rooms, furniture, and sometimes people inside who would tell us stories and answer questions. We learned a lot on this trip from the very informative people, and definitely enjoyed our trip to Sturbridge Village and look forward to going back.

Written by Emma and Brooks Morgan

Destination Imagination Global Finals Recap

By Madeline

Since September, Team Wonderland BookSavers worked on a Destination Imagination project. The challenge this year was entitled the “Meme Event” and in this challenge we were required to create a meme which promoted our project, collaborate with community partners, and hold a community event. We chose to showcase our Haitian-Creole book donating project, and we created a play to theatrically portray the many different components of our project.

After winning first place at the Connecticut Destination Imagination States contest, we were qualified to compete at the Global Finals competition of Destination Imagination in Knoxville Tennessee. Over 8,000 students from 20 countries convened in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee to vie in the Global Finals contest.

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Going to Globals was an incredible, cultural experience. We traded pins with kids from other states and countries, and we attended several parties and events. Our team went to the duct tape ball, where we made and wore duct tape dresses and duct tape tuxedos.

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Wearing our duct tape suits and dresses at the duct tape ball

We attended the passport/international party, where we learned about different countries and tasted different foods. We also were able to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies.

Our incredible 2016 Destination Imagination journey ended after the closing ceremony. We placed 25th in our category, and we will look forward to enhancing our project and skills for next year’s competition.

Wonderland BookSavers full Destination Imagination Global Finals performance

Wonderland BookSavers’ Haitian-Creole Books Arrived in Haiti on May 17

By Madeline

Early last fall, we met with our community partner Susy Whitcomb, President of Haitian Educational Initiatives. Susy brought us pictures and videos of the kids at their school with our books. We had previously donated many French books to Haiti, but upon meeting with Susy, we discovered that the children in Haiti speak Haitian-Creole–not French–as their first language.

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A Haitian child with one of our donated French books

The French books were helpful, but before the Haitian children could learn to read, they would have to learn French, a foreign language. Team Wonderland BookSavers decided that we wanted to get the Haitian children Haitian-Creole books so they could finally have books written in their native language.

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Haitian-Creole books

After collaborating with our community partner Zoe Barry, the founder and CEO of ZappRx, we were able to obtain funds to purchase $1,099 worth of Haitian-Creole books. Since Zoe was so generous in giving us the funds to purchase the Haitian-Creole books, we along with the ZappRx team donated 2,000 books to the Reach Out and Read program at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in Boston.

Throughout this project, we have united American children with Haitian children through our “poster pals” program. Poster pals are essentially pen pals, except we exchange and create banners with notes and drawings instead of just letters.

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Kids work on one of the poster pals we sent to Haiti

Wonderland BookSavers held a community event at the Barnum School where we helped the kids decorate a Sneetch machine after we read “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss. At that event, we read a Haitian-Creole book to the children at Barnum School, and let the kids create banners for the children in Haiti.

Soon, the children at Barnum School will get a poster pals banner from the children in Haiti. Our Haitian-Creole books and poster pals were scheduled to arrive in Haiti in February, but due to a political coup and violence in Haiti, our books and poster pals were delayed in being delivered until May. On May 17, the children in Haiti received the first books they have ever seen written in their native language, and posters and drawings from us and American children.

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children in Haiti holding our donated books

We are incredibly grateful to Susy Whitcomb and Zoe Barry for their assistance in this project. We are excited to see the children with their new books, and we are eagerly anticipating the poster pals which the Haitian children are sending back to America.

Wonderland BookSavers Attend Meet the Author with Ida Siegal

By Madeline

Last Friday, Team Wonderland BookSavers attended a “Meet the Author” event with Ida Siegal, an author of a series of four books, at our local library. Many of us have seen Ida broadcasting news stories as an NBC New York reporter, but we were unaware that Ida also wrote children’s books.

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An array of Ida’s series of books, Emma Is on the Air

Ida recently published Emma Is on the Air, a series of four books in which the protagonist, Emma, pieces together puzzles and mysteries at her school and reports on the subsequent happenings. Ida explained that she wanted to create a series of books to illustrate what reporters do. As she spoke to us, she explained that children are always interested in news reporters–she recounted how whenever children see the iconic NBC peacock logo and all the news equipment, they immediately sprint over to ask a deluge of questions. Ida said she wanted to create something to show children what being a news reporter is like, and with the incite and perspective of being an actual news reporter, Ida created this series of books to help readers see how reporters operate.listeningtoida.JPGIda read a few chapters from her first book from her series, Big News!, and after reading two chapters, Ida held a question-and-answer session where we and other children were able to ask about her writing process, her inspiration for the books, and how her career as a reporter helped in creating the story.idareading.JPGLastly, Ida held a book-signing, and we got signed copies of Ida’s book Big News! This event was both informational and inspiring, and we gleaned firsthand knowledge about news reporting and book publishing.

Title 1 School Donates Books to Zimbabwe

written by Brooks Morganpic 1.JPGToday, 5/9/16, we visited Emily G. Wetherbee school in Massachusetts. We are thrilled with their generosity. Francine, writing coach and head of community service said, “We’re trying to teach our students, here, to give to others. I work in a community where the kids get 100% free lunch and they get a lot of free services; it is a community of poverty and yet, we try to teach them that it doesn’t matter; you can still give to others. This is one way for students to share with other people.” Francine’s words reflect our mission, the greatest gift is giving.pic 2.JPGA 4th grade class helped us load the car with all the boxes that were donated. They were all very nice. Joshua was very good at carrying and organizing the boxes, Denise was so nice for holding the door open for those carrying boxes, otherwise we would have been locked out. Cameron, Adrian, Brady, Ninio, and Jose were very strong and able to carry the boxes to and into the car. Cameron, Joshua, Denise, Adrian, and Brady were also very good at answering some of our questions.pic 3

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Sombreros and sticky letters for the kids in Zimbabwe

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A letter one of the fourth graders wrote to the kids in Zimbabwe

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Some of the books donated to us by the Wetherbee School

After loading the car, I went inside and continued interviewing Francine. Francine spoke about the importance of giving to others, Alison, our team manager, said, “I think that’s so important, for kids who don’t have much to be able to give to other children. That’s one of the reasons that we started this letter writing campaign. We know it’s a way that kids can share with others, you can give a letter or a picture as a way to communicate. Francine added, “And I’ve read some of the letters and one or two of them almost made me cry because they’re saying something like ‘your new friend from America.’ At 4th grade, the kids are just so open, you know, they don’t know these people at all but they saw the video and saw what the situation was and thought oh, wow, we get to give them books!”pic 7Before we left, Francine wanted to give us more things to share with the children in Zimbabwe. She found a huge box of sticky foam letters and pictures and a huge stack of sombreros! We had a great time talking to the children and collecting the books. We hope to go back again if they want to collect some more books for us!pic 8

Written by Brooks Morgan

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.

 

Wonderland BookSavers win the Destination Imagination States Competition!

By Madeline

Today, Team WBS competed in the Connecticut States Destination Imagination Tournament. After driving one and a half hours to arrive at Connecticut College for the Destination Imagination competition, we unpacked our props, practiced, and eagerly awaited the time to present our play.

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preparing for the states competition

Our practice and preparation paid off! Each team member did an amazing job remembering lines and cues, and created an engaging, theatrical representation of our project.

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organizing our props before the play started

In the afternoon, we partook in a hat-making contest, where we attached our team flag to a paper cup/duct tape/paper plate hat constructed Brooks Morgan and the rest of the team. After we created the hat, we marched around in the parade of teams, and then we took our seats for the awards ceremony. After much anticipation, our division was called, and we discovered that we had won first place! We are now looking forward to the next level of competition: The Destination Imagination Global Finals, which will be held in May. The team has worked tirelessly, and we are all excited to progress to the next level.

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after the awards ceremony with our medals

Thank you Destination Imagination for helping us imagine the world as a better place with one book, one child, and one school at a time!

Team Wonderland BookSavers Heads to Destination Imagination States

By Madeline

Months of hard work is about to come to fruition. Every year, Team WBS competes in the competition Destination Imagination. The Destination Global Finals are held every year in Knoxville, Tennessee, and teams ranging from elementary age students to college students participate in five different categories of challenges and four different age groups. Students 45 states and 17 countries will be participating at the Global Finals.

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At the globals competition in 2015

However, in order to qualify for Globals, we must win first place in our division at the Connecticut State competition. The challenge this year is dubbed “The Meme Event” and in this challenge our team was required to make a meme to promote our project, create a timeline with specific dates and locations regarding our project, and hold a community event to integrate our community in our service work. Destination Imagination has helped our team with requirements in past projects. The first year Wonderland BookSavers competed in DI, we had to make a video about our project. The second year we had to incorporate an elevator pitch. In our third year, we were required to expand our team’s brand, and create a jingle. All these past requirements have proved to be useful in expanding our project.

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We chose to use our Haitian-Creole book and Sneetch-Event project as our featured project in our DI challenge, and we have created a play incorporating our steps, successes, and failed aspects of this project.

The team has worked tirelessly on this project since September, and we are eager to compete at the states level of Destination Imagination tomorrow. Wish us luck!