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Established in 2014, Books and Beyond USA (BBUSA) is a global student-driven initiative that uniquely bridges the United States and Rwanda. Its mission is to provide an experiential opportunity for students in both countries to hone essential 21st century skills and make a difference as the next generation of global changemakers.

American students participate in BBUSA by writing and illustrating original content that will be used as English-language support material in Rwandan preschool, primary, and secondary classrooms. To date, BBUSA has delivered over 10,000 books to Rwandan children who typically do not have a single book to call their own.

BBUSA’s success lies in several essential programming components:


  • Creative Writing: In creating books from initial concept to production, BBUSA students are confronted with the challenging but exciting task of expressing themselves through the written word for an audience across the globe. The result is a fortification in logistical, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills that they can apply in their future professional environments.

  • Arts Integration: BBUSA uses the universal language of art as a powerful teaching tool, allowing students to blend visual creations with the written word. Arts integration has been shown to improve social, emotional, and cognitive development and is the foundation of our future innovators and entrepreneurs.

  • Project-Based Learning: The multi-faceted and interdisciplinary nature of each BBUSA project gives students of all learning styles and need levels the chance to meaningfully contribute. In a learning environment where diversity is celebrated, participants can focus on driving their project forward, working together to apply their existing talents, and strengthening any weaker skill areas.

  • Service Learning: Expanding their awareness of the most pressing global issues, including poverty, education, healthcare, and the environment, BBUSA’s participants gain new perspectives about challenges that exist in the landscape of broader human experience. Service learning gives students the opportunity to discover not only a deeper appreciation of the world in all its complexity, but also their potential roles within it. This moves them toward a deeper, more authentic level of global engagement and compassionate leadership.


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NPR 2021 Book Creation and Distribution Story
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