USA TESTIMONIALS

TEACHERS/ADMINISTRATORS

“Books and Beyond offered my students a real-world opportunity to be a part of a solution. Collaborating on a project with a purpose allowed students to contribute in a meaningful way while developing confidence in their abilities. My classroom gained valuable knowledge about students in Rwanda, and left with an appreciation for global diversity and how we are different but alike.”

—Sandra Wisneski, Catalyst Charter Middle School

“As teachers, it is our responsibility to educate children and challenge them to think beyond the walls of the school, their community, and even their country. We are global citizens, and the earlier our students are exposed to their placement within the world at large, the sooner they will be able to have an impact.”

 

 


—Ali Nagle

“I have always tried to provide my students with meaningful experiences that help them see how both their efforts and talents can be shared to promote and inspire good in the world. For many of my students this past year, life was particularly challenging. As their teacher, I needed to find a way to help them overcome these challenges and continue to move forward. By giving them a positive goal to focus on, I gave them a way to cope. I could not be prouder of my students for the efforts and dedication they put into creating the illustrations for this book. I felt just as much joy seeing my students complete the book as I did seeing the images of the Rwandan children receiving the books. I truly believe that it is always better to give than to receive. My students gave with their hearts and their talents so that the Rwandan children could receive the gift of reading through the beauty of visual language.”


—Carolyn Frazier, Jersey City Arts High School

“Service learning encourages understanding and respect. It builds awareness of community. In the case of BBUSA, it expands the student’s awareness globally. Creative writing helps students learn new skills while appreciating the skill and creativity of others. BBUSA students learn how different, yet alike they are to people in another part of the world. It helps them learn appreciation and compassion. It is motivational.”

 


—Dina LoPiccolo, Monmouth Beach Elementary School

“The project is important all around. The U.S. students learn about a culture in another part of the world and the result is that they appreciate their own, as well as the differences between the two. It's a wonderful idea. The students even expressed a desire to see (via video) the Rwandan children receiving their books. They wanted to further connect, possibly even hear back from them, via writing."

—Allison Tevald, Project Write Now

“Education requires us to use a variety of learning styles to engage students in each topic. Through research, design thinking, and hands-on implementation, BBUSA’s students are immersed in an experiential learning project. They become active learners by discovering the landscape of another culture, creating print materials to supplement classroom teaching, and forming a community to address a real-life opportunity.”
“A benefit for the teacher is that the project is pre-designed. Executing a successful service learning project takes years, through building trust with a community partner and coming to a consensus around project needs. BBUSA has all of this in place through an 11-year relationship with Rwandan schools and a template for book creation that is aligned with literacy standards."

 


—Lauren Calderera, service learning specialist

“I think it's important for students to participate in this type of project because it allows them to learn about other cultures and environments which are so different from the ones with which they are familiar. The most exciting part of this project for me, as a learner, was seeing the interest and engagement of the students. It opened a door to a world that my students had never experienced. It allowed us to explore together and learn a bit about Rwanda and its people.”


“It also creates an authentic and meaningful purpose for art and literacy. One of the problem-solving skills that our children had to develop was an ability to work together. They had to realize their work had to be a team effort; it was not one person who 'got their way.' Arts integration models have been proven through research to demonstrate engagement and motivation for the learning processes. In the art room, the children are able to clearly experience the role of illustrators for a picture book.”


—June Sustick, Viola L. Sickles School

“Students actively researched their topics, and my teachers developed buy-in and leadership for the projects. BBUSA's programming provides authentic and relevant student work and artifacts. It also develops global awareness and empathy. ”


—Principal Cheryl Cuddihy, Viola L. Sickles School

“My students always feel very good about making a positive impact on others through their art.”


—Robert Richardson, Newark Arts High School

“Art is a nonverbal form of communication which is understood worldwide. It is not dependent on literacy. Creative writing strengthens and organizes thoughts through imagination.”


—Amy Hall, Monmouth Beach Elementary School

STUDENTS

“It was just a special experience overall that we could provide pictures for books that Rwandan students would be reading. I'm glad that I had the opportunity for my drawing to be chosen. Everything in this program was awesome and I would gladly do it again.”


—Charlie B., Catalyst Charter Middle School

“Using my art for education gives me joy, because I know this book will continue to have a positive affect on young minds for years to come.”


—Luc-Paul Adams, Jersey City Arts High

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this saying is very true. It makes me feel proud and happy that I could help even one child pursue an education, because having an education makes a big difference. A child can learn and grow starting with a simple, sweet alphabet picture book.”


—Jia Jia Zhong, Jersey City Arts High

“The arts are what connects us all. It’s amazing to see children receiving their education in a colorful, fun way.”


—Ria Monda, Jersey City Arts High

“Working with Books and Beyond, I enjoyed being able to draw an image for a story that will be shared with other people. I liked that "good" images, or images that were created by the most artistically talented people in class, weren't the only ones chosen. It meant that everyone, even those who don't think they're artists, had a chance to contribute to the finished book.”


—Stella G., Catalyst Charter Middle School

RWANDAN TESTIMONIALS

TEACHERS/ADMINISTRATORS

“This book is a powerful educational tool for our teachers. Access to books is of extreme importance to the development of the preschoolers in our school. It helps provide the right conditions for learning to happen. The book is so lovely and something our little ones can read with their families over and over again. I especially liked the idea of engaging young American students in the development of the book for children on the other side of the world. This initiative will lead to lasting impact across generations. Books and Beyond USA understands that children are our best hope for the future.”


—Gaspard Nzayisenga, Archangel Academy founder and Rwanda Gorilla Doctors field veterinarian

“When Nancy brought the books to us the other day, she handed the books to the children. Some of them weren’t quite sure if they were just getting loaned these books, or if they were just to be looked at. When they found out that they were allowed to own these books and take them home, it caused quite a bit of excitement. The very next morning, about half of the children in the school brought the books back, and some of the parents also came back to the school, saying, ‘I’m very sorry, but the children have stolen your books.’ So I had to explain to them, ‘No, these books were made by children in America especially thinking about the children here in Africa, so that they would be able to have a book of their very own.’ No one in their families has one. It’s the first book in the house, let alone for the children. It’s also wonderful for our children’s ego to know that people are thinking of them. To be able to know that someone in North America is thinking of them and hoping that they succeed is huge for the children. I’m very, very excited for them to come to school tomorrow and to see this mural, and to be able to explain to them that when people were painting these wonderful drawings, they were thinking of us, knowing that our children were going to see them and enjoy them.”


—Headmistress Cathy Emmerson, Prefer School

"This book is a powerful educational tool for our teachers. Access to books is of extreme importance to the development of the preschoolers in our school. It helps provide the right conditions for learning to happen. The book is so lovely and something our little ones can read with their families over and over again. I especially liked the idea of engaging young American students in the development of the book for children on the other side of the world. This initiative will lead to lasting impact across generations. Books and Beyond USA understands that children are our best hope for the future.

“When it comes to the topics or chapters of these books, they are very good. You can see atmosphere, climate change, ecosystems—all of those subjects. The books are included in our subjects here at the school. They can help not only our students, but also the community, to be aware of the ecosystem and how to protect the environment. We have a big number of students, but few books. These books will help very much because students will use them in their studies inside the classrooms and read them when they are at home.”


—Headmaster Jean de Dieu Twagirimana, G.S Kampanga School

"Every child in Rwanda must know English – speaking, reading, writing – well. When the books come, they will help our children to read, to know more, to improve their English skills. When the children go home with their books, the parents may also start [learning] English."


—Headmaster John Bizimana, Nyabitsinde School