the world opens up (through the pages of a book)

By | 9:37 AM 4 comments
The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,

And all the sweet serenity of books.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If you know me then you know that I am unashamed about my love for a good book. 
A good library filled with good books is my happy place.
Yes, I know...I wear the nerd title with pride.

In America there are bookstores, the Kindle and Nook, and of course, public libraries. It is very easy to take our accessibility to books for granted. I know I did.

And I have learned how much the ability to read is even a mighty privilege.

Haiti has a 48% literacy rate. 
(source: CIA factbook)

Yeah, just let that statistic soak in a bit.

But just like everything else that can overwhelm you when you take in the scope of the needs in Haiti, I remember that while I can't do everything, I can do my best with those I have been entrusted to influence during this time in my life.

I've heard it said that your kids will be passionate about what you are passionate about, and I can only wish and hope and pray, that I might have had some influence with the kids at Have Faith Haiti Mission towards a love of books too.

We read all the time with the kids. We've started a "book club" with some of them. We have a very (very!) small library program with a few of them, where they are allowed to "check out" a book and be responsible for that book and return it when finished. So far, we haven't lost one book. 

I love the fact that all our kids at HFHM can quote entire sections of 'Where the Wild Things Are" and can find the tiny little mouse on every page in "Goodnight Moon" almost without looking. That classics like "Heidi" and "The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn" are being enjoyed as well as the not so classic but definitely enjoyable "Captain Underpants" and "Junie B. Jones" series.

This week we were able to take a field trip to library at Quesqueya School here in Port au Prince. I take my four kids there on a weekly basis, but I really wanted the kids at HFHM to see and experience a "real" library.

My friend, Mr. Chabot, the head librarian at Quesqueya School very graciously agreed to come in on his day off and allow our kids to visit...

The crew minus Jeremiah and Zoe who took the picture =)

Mr. Chabot giving a short presentation on what a library is and how to look for books.
The wonders of ol' Dewey decimal.

And then, they were off to explore and read!

"Look at all the Junie B. Jones books, Ms. Jennifer!"

Ezra was so proud to show off his advance knowledge of the dinosaur section.

Ms. Charlotte was in heaven with an almost endless supply of magazines =)

No one but the Lord really knows what the future holds for these precious children. But I do know that the adventures and stories they are being allowed to experience through the pages of their books will stay with them throughout their lives.
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Erin Snyder said...

What a cool experience!! :) You are awesome! Wear that nerd hat proudly! :)

Hey Jennifer,

Can we send gentle used books? If so, what is the address and is there a big cost for you at customs?

Jen Ward

Anne said...

From our experience sending things to my overseas-based brother, a very good way is to find someone who is on their way there, and ship the items to them. The traveler has to have room in their luggage, but this way it's every so much cheaper, and most likely will not get a customs hit. But I'll leave this up to those at the other end, and was just tossing in an idea.

Jessica said...

I, too, am interested to know if we could send books to help build your library at the mission.