Since 2016, the Curiosity Circle has been helping Nicaraguan families fall in love with books, promoting family reading at home and strengthening reading comprehension skills through story hours and book lending. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. Half of children do not finish sixth grade, and recent UNESCO literacy tests show half of third
graders scoring at the lowest levels.
We think reading is one of the keys to escaping poverty. As Room to Read points out, “knowing how to read makes people safer, healthier and more self-sufficient.” So every day, our storytellers load tubs of books and a huge blanket in the book bus (purchased with another Better World Books grant!) and haul them to classrooms, parks, street corners, and after-school programs around the city of León, Nicaragua.
Currently, our program serves 300-400 children each week. While we’re thrilled to be serving this many, it is stretching our small library of 864 books to its limit. Our collection has enough books to run story hours and limited lending, but it’s not enough to send each child home with a book every week, which is our ultimate goal.
A $9,000 Better World Books grant will allow our program to buy 1,200–1,400 new books. This will be a huge step forward for the mission. First, we’ll be able to lend to every child in the program every week. And we’ll be able to double the number of children we serve by expanding our collection of books for families of beginning readers in pre-school and kindergarten as well as for children up to sixth grade, where a lot of our current kids will be in a couple of years.