Precious cargo: shipping books across the sea

Apr 24, 2013
As part of Scholastic’s global literacy campaign,Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life., we’ve identified organizations that work every day to see that children learn to read, love to read, and have access to books. We call them“Literacy Champions”andwe want to acknowledge their hard work here on the blog in ourLiteracy Champions series. In this next installment, we’re focusing on one of our more recent Literacy Champions, Hands Across the Sea. Harriet and Tom Linskey, Co-Founders of Hands Across the Sea, share with us a bit about their program. We live by the words, “The gift of literacy lasts a lifetime,” because we’ve witnessed how literacy can transform the life path of children in need. In the Eastern Caribbean, where most families are unable to afford books and schools are severely underfunded, we’ve shipped over 141,000 books to 291 schools, libraries, and reading programs, giving over 55,000 children access to literacy and a better life. Since our start in 2007 we’ve been working hands-on in the Caribbean with principals, teachers, and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers at local schools (from pre-school to high school), and from this this we’ve developed our three-step CLASS (Caribbean Literacy and School Support) program: 1. Send great new books; 2. Create vibrant borrowing libraries; 3. Foster sustainability through support from the school staff and local community. One of our favorite bits of news about a Hands shipment reaching the islands came from a local parent helping to put together the library at tiny Bonne Terre Preparatory School on St. Lucia: “I’m having such a great time watching students check out the new books. I had one little boy ask me with very wide eyes, ‘You mean I am the very first person to read this book?’ Yep!!!” Words like these, along with the joy and hope that great new books bring to Caribbean children, make this the most rewarding work we’ve ever done. For moreinformation, visit theHands Across the Sea website. Anyone who helps a child to read is a Literacy Champion in our book, and we invite you tojoin our growing listof people committed to supporting childhood literacy. You can also support a LiteracyChampion near you—browsea full liston our Read Every Day Lead a Better Life. site. image via Hands Across the Sea