|L to R, student Day Day from Thailand, me, student Keriya Osman from Ethiopia,
and Head of School Amy Pelissero with the donated books at the Global Village Project.
On behalf of the Southern-Breeze region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), I had the pleasure of delivering three boxes of sparkling new books to The Global Village Project (GVP), a school for refugee girls in Decatur, GA.
Authors and illustrators at the recent spring conference in Atlanta contributed the books as part of the Joan Broerman Book Basket. I “won” the books with the understanding that I would donate them to a school library of my choice.
I first learned about the GVP from fellow SCBWI member and author Ricky Jacobs, a retired linguistics professor who’d been tutoring refugees for years. Eventually, his commitment to educating these often-traumatized young girls bloomed into The GVP.
This fully accredited school serves the educational needs of refugee girls and young women who have come from war-torn or politically unstable regions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. If they’ve had any schooling at all, it had been interrupted during their relocation to safety.
“Some of our students barely speak English, let alone know how to write and read when they first come,” explained Amy Pelissero, GVP’s Head of School. The intensive, full-day academic program prepares them to transition to either middle-school, high-school or college.The school has been in the process of building a library based on donations of old books.
“Unfortunately, many of these old books were not appropriate or of little interest to our students,” Pelissero said, “but the library had to begin somewhere so we were grateful for the donations.”
The delivery of Broerman Book Basket—three boxes of brand new picture books, middle readers and young adult novels—was just what their library needed. “The students here have varied levels of schooling and literary experiences,” Pelissero said. “One student had never even held a book before coming here, while others are quite ready to tackle more complex novels. So this range of books is perfect for us.”
Student Keriya Osman from Ethiopa, upon seeing all the books on the table, exclaimed, “I want to read them all!”
In addition to the books, the Broerman Basket comes with a stipend to help defray the cost of processing the books.
“We are so, so grateful,” Pelissero continued. “Thank you, SCBWI. All our students will benefit greatly from your generosity.”