Children and education, kids and girls reading book in parkWhen I was in England in July 2011, I spent some time (on more than one occasion) in the Waterstone’s bookshop in the village where we were staying. There I noticed lovely small reusable shopping bags illustrated with delightful pictures of children and a bus. I purchased more than one of these bags, giving several as gifts.

I later learned that the illustrations on the bag were by noted British children’s book author and illustrator Sir Quentin Blake, and even more importantly, proceeds from the sale of the bags went to support an organization called The Book Bus.

The Book Bus began in 2008, traveling around Zambia, not only taking books to schools, but actively engaging with the children to get them excited about reading. From that relatively small beginning, the organization is now active in Malawi, Ecuador and India as well as the original Zambia — and so far 5,000 children have had their lives enhanced by the books the bus provides.

Their goal is to reach 10,000 more children by 2015. Just imagine what that will mean — so many more children growing up with the knowledge and opportunities that reading brings, so many more children growing up with the joy that reading brings.

Quoting from their website: The Book Bus supports schools by providing mobile library facilities and volunteer story-tellers to help children become confident and literate readers for life. Working mainly with rural schools, our volunteer crew divide huge classes into small groups and inspire the children to read by personalizing the reading experience through story-telling, assisted reading practice and creative arts. This simple and effective support is sustained by provision of books and resources to each school library.

Another exciting thing The Book Bus is involved in is a program in the UK called Connecting Classrooms. The larger program connects schools in the UK with schools in 50 other countries. The Book Bus has helped get ten classrooms in the UK connected with classrooms in Zambia — yet another way to enhance the lives of children in both countries.

I am so grateful that Sir Quentin Blake’s charming illustrations attracted me to those little book bags, so that I could learn about this excellent organization.

To learn more about The Book Bus, click here to go to their website.

Their Facebook Group Page is here.

Learn about Connecting Classrooms by either clicking here for The Book Bus’ involvement, or here for the full program.

Learn more about Sir Quentin Blake’s involvement in charities including The Book Bus here.

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