New Toys, New Books, New Friends: Bringing together children from Long Island, NY & Makuleke Village, SA

A Kindergarten student at Sousa Elementary School, in Long Island, New York, cradles a doll from Makuleke Village, made out of recycled bags.  In January, children at Sousa learned about life and culture in the village through the toys that the children in the community make and use.  The children at Sousa also learned about Sharing to Learn’s library building initiatives for the impoverished community and wanted to share their favorite class books with children in the village.  We brought their favorite picture book selects, as well as their class-made books introducing themselves to their new friends, our little community library in March.

New Books at the Makuleke Library, thanks to Kindergarten friends at Sousa Elementary School (Long, Island, New York)

Beverly Hills goes to Makuleke Village!

We have recently had the pleasure of connecting the students of Mr. Weiss & Ms. Cryer’s Grade 5 classes of Beverly Vista Elementary School, in Beverly Hills, California, with the children of Makuleke Village.  In February, the students in California learned about the life and culture of children in Makuleke Village.  They also learned of the little community library that Sharing to Learn founded in 2009, and they wanted to contribute to the book collection.  Both classes decided to create their own ‘All About Me’ big books, sharing their own cultures with the children in the village, as well as class-made books on Cities Around The World.  We had the honor of presenting these books to the Makuleke Library earlier this month.  The children of Makuleke were so happy to meet new friends, to learn about life in California, and to once again be connected to children around the globe.

Makuleke Community Library, April, 2012

Storybook Adventure: Bringing Children from Portugal and South Africa One Step Closer

Sofia & Laura, Middle School Students at CAISL in Portugal, proudly hold up their book, titled, “Left Foot” – written for their new friend, Matimba, of Makuleke Village, South Africa.  Storybook Adventure is an exciting and on-going collaboration linking children from Portugal with children in rural, remote villages of South Africa.  The village children filled out questionnaires, sharing important topics of their lives, for the children in Portugal; the questionnaire became the basis for stories written by students at CAISL about and for their new friends.  This book, along with dozens more, will reach the village next week.  We can’t wait for the children to see themselves in these beautiful stories.  They will stay in a collection at Sharing to Learn’s School Library.  Stay tuned for more images to come!

Storybook Adventure – Connecting Children in Portugal and South Africa through the art of Stories

Friends at the American International School of Lisbon Skype with Denise and share the stories that they have written for their friends in Makuleke, South Africa!


Yesterday, while working on the LitWorld Initiative ( to set up a community library for the  Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem, I had the great pleasure of having some great help from Remsy.  He had volunteered to come down from his after-school class and help me prepare new books.  He was the only one that wanted to come and help and I was so lucky that it was he who wanted to be there with me.  Quiet at first, and serious about doing his work, he quickly warmed up to me and my quirky comments on everything about life.  I considered myself so very lucky to not only have much needed help in preparing the books, but also to have the opportunity to get to know this child and have him share his life with me.  I asked Remsy for his opinion on our book order selection for adolescents.  Did he think other boys would like to read books about sports, mysteries or scary stories?  Did he think that it was a good idea to have books in Spanish at our library?  What kinds of books did he most like to read?  Why?  He told me he loves to write stories; he likes writing the stories about his own life.  I told him I would love to read them. Over the course of an hour, Remsy shared his thoughts and ideas with me and worked very hard to help me.  He took the time to be with me and he reminded me again and again of the importance in spending one-on-one time with a child, letting them know that their thoughts are important, that they themselves are important.

Friends & Books

The children at the Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem, New York, begin to immerse themselves in the endless joy of a good book.  We are helping LitWorld set up a little library for this community.  Its been an empowering experience for all. This photo represents why we do what we do, why we fight for all children (and adults) to have access to books and education.  This photo represents the sheer excitement, and the deep bonding effect, which can come from the simple act of reading.

For more information on the wonderful organization, LitWorld, please visit their website:

The Little Library at Red Rose School, Kibera, Kenya

The name Red Rose brings to mind a blossom, a burst of color, a fragrant symbol of beauty and life.   And the little Red Rose School is all of the above.  It represents love,  tender fragility, opportunity and most importantly, hope.  To find a bright red rose amidst the dusty, ramshackle streets of Kibera, the sprawling slums of Nairobi, is truly a reward.  The happy children at this school beam with pride, they marvel at the gift of learning.  They take nothing for granted and are incredibly thankful for the little that that have.  Wearing their bright red uniforms, the girls and boys at this small school, made out of scraps of metal and tin, are all roses and I felt honored to surround myself in their warmth during my stay in Kibera.

Our trip to Red Rose School was multi-purposed.  I was fortunate to travel to Kenya with the amazing New York -based npo, LitWorld ( – an organization that works with different communities around the world to promote global literacy.  We worked with LitWorld’s empowering Girls Club, we popped into classes and taught children, we shared new books with children and teachers, we also shared ideas, laughter and smiles, too.  A special LitWorld initiative was to set up the Red Rose School’s first library.  Shelves were made by local craftsman in Kibera, children helped us sort through new books.  They helped us label them and organize each and every single one of them.  With lots of help, we were able to achieve the incredible task of setting up the little library in just two little days.  These photos are small symbols of the treasure that the library represents to this glorious community of children and educators.

“We want the library to be nice and to have many storybooks so that many people may read them and understand English.  For me, I want to read the storybooks so that I can reach for my dreams.  My dream is to become a journalist and my dream is very great and it must come true.  If we have a library with many books, we will always be happy and achieve our dreams.” – Emelda, age 12

Children perusing new books, while helping us group them into sets and label them.

The sweet pleasure of a good read.

Proudly standing in front of her new library.

red rose school library – kibera, kenya

We’re so happy to collaborate with the wonderful organization, LitWorld, to promote global literacy and help give children the access to quality books and a space and place to read them.  We’ve arrived to Kenya late last night and in less than a day we have established the beginnings of a little school library.  The children of the school have helped us in all facets of establishing the library, from preparing the designated room, to sorting books and labeling them.  We’re nearly finished – thanks to lots of help from others.  We believe that all children, on all corners of the globe, deserve access to a quality education.  Don’t you?


Harlem Polo Grounds Community Center Library

Working together with the wonderful non-profit organization, LitWorld, we are setting up a little library at the Harlem Polo Grounds Community Center.  Sharing to Learn and LitWorld share the belief that all children, in all corners of the globe, deserve access to books and a quality education.  By establishing libraries, we are bringing books to communities that might not otherwise have access.

An important piece of setting up a library involves community involvement.  We like to have as many people come on board to help us with the set up as possible.  This week, the children at the community center enthusiastically helped us sort through books and label them.  Thanks to our eager helpers, we are one step closer to completing our library!

Girls from the LitWorld Girls Club were also busy helping us label chapter books!

The beginnings of grouping books into text-sets for the Polo Grounds Community Library, Harlem, NYC