Last Spring students at Tudor Elementary raised 1,500 books to donate to a few chosen organizations. One of them was to Rural Alaska Reads program, which is a local student designed organization determined to get more books in the hands of students who live in rural villages in Alaska.
The other choice students made was to send books to a small school, Ajiyal Souss, in Agadir, Morocco. Students chose this school because they had the opportunity to learn all about school in Morocco from their librarian who visited in the spring. Students were so excited to get the opportunity to help add more books to their library.
The initial box weighed 53 pounds and cost several hundred dollars to send. About 6 months later, the box came back because it was over the maximum weight allowed to enter Morocco in a postal package. Students decided to re-strategize and send a much smaller box with mostly paperback books. This time they included cards and letters and descriptions for why the chosen books were in the box. Here is the video of the box being received!
Students were quite excited and decided to create thank you notes to our students. Teachers even recorded videos of students reading the books. Check this one out!
Here is the letter from the school, to our students, sharing their thoughts. We are looking forward to getting a chance to skype with students and teachers at the school in order to truly connect even more!
Keep scrolling after to view pictures~Click on a picture to view it larger!
Hello from Agadir, Morocco.
Dear teachers and Students
We really wanted to write about our experience, how happy we are about the gifts we got [from Tudor Elementary]. We as teachers felt so delighted, we really appreciate it, books are precious gifts it’s the best thing you can give because it’s a friend that will never leave your side no matter what. So once again thank you.
Students were amazed by the diversity of books and stories they got, their desire to read and learn new things about the language and the other students who were kind enough to share their precious books increased. They started reading and wrote some comments which we would like to share with you
- I SURVIVED, some or all the stories are based on true events, and the fact that the heroes are young people is interesting.
- MAGIC TREE HOUSE, I am happy to know that we are reading the same books.
- PETE THE CAT is so sweet and cute.
- Thank you for the signed book, we loved the new words we will try to learn them.
- DAIRY OF A WIMPY KID, the way that the story’s events are put together is so surreal, like if we capture a real emotional life and transformed it into another world of fun and humor, but still carry a message for the readers.
- DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, I loved the movie I will defiantly love the book.
- THREE PIGS, [variation] I wonder if this version will be as good as the old one.
- SILLY POEMS AND SONGS are so funny we will try to sing some for you in the near future.
- THE MYSTERY ON ALASKA…, I love that they are real kids in real places, so we can learn more about Alaska in an interesting way…
Since [the students] got the books and we told them it’s from Alaska, they wanted to know more so they asked a lot of questions!
- Is Alaska a state?
- What’s the weather like in there?
- When is it the best time of the year to visit Alaska?
- How do you manage to do your daily chores when it’s night during the day and vise versa?
- Do you all speak English or do have a dialect?
It is a one of a kind experience because we are trying to raise our students with the same values that you are promoting: being kind to one another, voicing your thoughts, young people having the power the change what‘s around you by your good deeds, and that it doesn’t matter where you are or where are you from or what language you speak … after all we are all human beings.
We are here to raise the quality of life for every child, we want all of our children to achieve their full potentials, and our task is to make it possible, what you did is a great way to start inspiring them to do more.
Once again it was an honor to be part of this experience,
Showing their book gifts and thank you cards!
What a great learning experience! The box returning due to weight restrictions will be something students will not forget whenever they send something in the future. Getting a response for specific books is powerful, and a great engagement tool, and a great way to work on a global view for students.
This year, I hope you decide to join us in our Rural Alaska Reads project, where as a school, you collect books to send to rural Alaska. Stay tuned for more details!
As an early childhood educator, this project really speaks to me personally, because I try to promote literacy to my families. Throughout the school year, my students receive several books from me (thanks to a plethora of $1 Scholastic Books available monthly).
I also joined a women educators group that also promotes literacy through a few projects that are conducted a few times throughout the school year, by getting books into the hands of children all over the state of AK (and probably other states and countries, since our group is worldwide).
I love that this is another way to get connected with children around the world and does not have to be limited to an age/grade level. Being that we are in AK, this could easily be adapted to the preschool/PreK age range and we could share AK themed books with children statewide or globally, if we can figure out logistical challenges (mainly cost, as preschool/Prek would have difficulty with fundraising).
However, I would like to share that there are mini grant opportunities available through DKG (women in educational occupations), as well as through local VFW’s and auxiliaries attached to them, by either written or verbal requests. Hopefully this information can be useful to other educators who would like to do this service project!!
And even one more grant is the Safeway funds schools grants that comes out in August. My program took over Rural Alaska Reads as of this spring, and students will be shipping books to rural villages. We are sponsored by a number of airlines to offset shipping costs! I would love to partner with your group and spread even greater, the literacy love. Email me for more info firstname.lastname@example.org
The teacher’s closing comments show that this project did send so much more than just books. You really did create that model of kindness and sharing that we want our kids to have. I love the AK book inclusion to raise interest with the recipients; I wonder how many will try to learn more or contact your students again.
Such determination to come up with a new plan when the original box of books didn’t make it! Well done! What a fun way to share some of your favorite books with kids across the globe. It’s fun to think of Alaska’s Three Pigs being read somewhere as far away as Morocco!
I love having Alaska books being read in other places. Now when I travel, I always pick up a book local to that area. Kids are fascinated and we can talk about so much with regard to perspective, having pride in community, and the idea of being Glocal (embraces the global, while celebrating the local)
Oh my goodness! Any child would love to pick out books for another child, much less halfway around the world! What a fun activity. This again would require fundraising to do, but what a fun and interactive project to do on skype in a global setting. I’m not surprised many children now want to visit Morocco!
How inspiring! I am sure this gave you such a feeling of love and pride. I love that they had such a connection to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I would have never imagined it.
This sounds like such an exciting and worthwhile way to make connections across the globe! I love that the students were able to figure out another way to send books after having already sent a box and then getting it sent back. That must have been frustrating! I think it’s really neat that you also got to learn about one another through writing and asking questions–and seeing that you all have common goals.
What a cool project. I love that students were given a choice of where to send the books and choose locations both in Alaska and in a different country. It was great of the student who volunteered to read one of the books. Overall this shows how people from around the world are looking to connect and the positive outcomes that come out of these connections. Thanks for sharing.
Wow, this is amazing! This is a great way to connect with other parts of the world. This reminds me when Northwood Elementary donated book to my school (Creekside Park) during Christmas. I will never forget the look of my students face when they received the books. I also love the personalize notes. What a great way to create a global learning classroom!
I love this heart project! How neat for the students to be personally involved in something like this. I even like that the package was sent back and the students had to re-strategize how they were going to get the books to Morocco. A real-world experience like that would have to teach the kids dedication after they were let down to re-evaluate and decided they wanted to try again, compassion to work so hard to raise all of that money for the books, perspective taking because they would have had to think about what books the students would really want, and thoughtfulness!