Guest Blog: Liz on the promise of literacy
The Nobelity Project will spotlight literacy partners over the next few months, so I've been reflecting on my own love of reading. On my visit to Kenya this summer, we put books on shelves at several libraries. The schools invited students to organize titles by age and genre. Their faces lit up with curiosity and delight. We didn't need words, I read their faces to learn what interested them the most. Our team was able to accomplish this thanks to our new literacy partner, Start a Library Trust.
This is my friend Dafrose in Nairobi, she works (so hard!) for Start a Library Trust. Our friend Joe is the photographer. Dafrose shared a thoughtful blog post for Nobelity earlier this year. She wrote, “Literacy is fundamental for learning and connecting with the world. Reading and writing empower learners to connect with society, achieve their dreams and experience the joy of a good book. But there are many communities where boys and girls do not receive an education, let alone learn basic literacy skills. What sort of future will those children have?”
Early literacy opened a million opportunities for me and expanded world view. Books are all around me, on every subject, in every room of my house. This month's Austin Chronicle outlines all the city's independent bookstores to choose from. I frequently borrow from our expansive public library system. At a recent signing at Austin Public Library, I met a young fashion designer starting their own tailoring business. This is what books do. They introduce us to new worlds and people.
A few of Liz's recent faves.
I had the privilege of choosing from a variety of schools. My parents are avid readers who encouraged me to share their appetite for knowledge, and we had access to learning resources. Our house even had built in bookshelves! When I stayed at grandma's, she shared books on gardening and astrology. I inherited a box of my great grandparents' books, including a navy blue anthology of French lit published in the 1890s that's falling apart at the seams. Holding it makes me think about how they didn't have screens to distract them; books were a great escape. I was the last generation to live in a world where phones were not in every hand. I remember mom taking me to our neighborhood library to check off summer reading lists.
Libraries that The Nobelity Project and Start a Library Trust restocked or opened this year. (That's Beatrice and me!)
Getting kids to pick up a book isn’t always easy, and even more difficult when there aren’t many (or any) options. Please consider making a donation to The Nobelity Project to put books on shelves and train teachers to be librarians in their own schools. The book you put in front of a young reader might introduce them to something they never dreamed of, or inspire them to explore a dream they already have.
We work in Kenya, Texas and Latin America. For U.S. supporters, The Nobelity Project can accept tax deductible donations on behalf of literacy partners around the globe. Introduce yourself to the work Start a Library Trust is doing: www.nobelity.org/startalibrarytrust.
If your heart is at home in Texas, we also work with BookSpring - a wonderful Austin organization increasing literacy for Central Texas families. And of course our long time partner PIER in Roátan, Honduras is still truckin' around the island with the bookmobile. Reading is global. Reading links the past, present and future. Reading connects cultures.
Kusoma ni poa! Reading Is Cool!
I definitely take books for granted, they've been a huge part of my world my entire life. Imagine what the world would look like if every kid had the same opportunity? That's the goal of The Nobelity Project: bridging gaps in education. We chose these literacy partners because they are laying down stepping stones for anyone who wants an education.
Literacy is the first step. Let's give these kids every book they can get their hands on.
Open a book, open the possibilities.