Do I have to be a part of Books as Bridges in order to receive books from the International Book Project?
No. Books as Bridges is a program of the International Book Project, but participating is not a requirement to receive books. However, because BAB is funded separately by the Virginia Clark Hagan Foundation, participants are guaranteed their books by September of that year. Regular International Book Project applicants will be sent books as funding becomes available. Often times this translates into a wait that may last from one to twelve months.
Can international participants request monetary donations from Books as Bridges partner organizations?
No. Although monetary aid is often needed, it should never be exchanged between US and international Books as Bridges partner classroom teachers or individuals abroad. Books as Bridges offers our international partners a $40 stipend to help pay for the costs related to the program, including school supplies, postage, and film development.
How many packages should we send to our partner classroom?
Each class should send at least two packages of letters and two packages of crafts or something depicting life in your community. The first package of letters should be sent by the US partner classroom, and upon receipt of the first package, the international classroom should send another. International classrooms should not feel obligated to send several packages without having received at least one from their partner classroom.
Can we use internet, email for the students, and digital pictures?
Absolutely! If your partner classroom’s students have access to email and the internet, please encourage using it. Doing so will allow your students to send and receive more letters.
Should I assign an individual pen-pal for each student in my class?
Assigning individual partners or pen-pals is not necessary, though it does occasionally work out. More often, however, the classroom sizes differ and it is easier to send a package of several individual letters written to any student.
What is the International Book Project?
The International Book Project (IBP) sends more than 150,000 books each year to over 40 developing countries. Seeking to address the need for cultural literacy and higher reading levels in Central Kentucky, IBP started Books as Bridges in 2007. To learn more, please visit IBP’s webpage, at www.internationalbookproject.org.
What are the program requirements?
International Books as Bridges partners are asked to follow these guidelines:
- Program administrators must have frequent and reliable internet and email access.
- Upon receipt of the first package of letters or US souvenirs from their pen-pals, international partners should send their first package. In total, each classroom should send 2 envelopes of letters and 2 packages with pictures and/or other souvenirs representing their country.
- Upon receipt of their shipment of books from the International Book Project, international partners should fill out the questionnaire and send a thank you letter and/or pictures to the donor (there will be detailed instructions with the shipment).
How can I help improve Books as Bridges?
Both international and US partners have the opportunity to help Books as Bridges grow and serve more youth. Please fill out the surveys and questionnaires that are sent throughout the year – there is a mid-year and a year-end survey. If you have any suggestions or comments about the program, please feel free to contact the Books as Bridges Coordinator.
What ages/grade levels can participate in Books as Bridges?
Classrooms can range from 1st grade (5-6 years old) to high school (16-18 years old). It is somewhat challenging to match classrooms perfectly by age and grade level, so classes may have to write to students that are 1-2 grades ahead or behind.