Waseem, 10, lives in Battir, a small village on the outskirts of Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Day to day life for children like Waseem can feel isolated due to local checkpoints and roadblocks. A train line runs through Battir but Palestinians are unable to travel on it. Restrictions on travel between the West Bank, Gaza and Israel can further add to a sense of isolation.
Waseem’s mum is the librarian at Battir Municipal Library and the new books you help to send are giving Waseem the chance to make the most of his education and learn about the wider world – and share it with other friends.
Here, Waseem tells us why books are important and how he and his friends are using them:
My favourite subject at school is sport and I’d like to be an astronaut when I grow up. At our library, we learn English, we learn Arabic and we find out new things. What we don’t know, we learn in the library. If we didn’t have any books, we wouldn’t know any new information and it would be hard.
My favourite book in Arabic is called The First Well. It is a true story about a very poor Palestinian man who collects money from his grandmother to buy a pencil and a book and he went to school and he learned every letter. When he went home, he taught his grandmother.
My favourite English book is Bish Bash Bosh because I like the sounds of the words. We have English stories read to us at the library. We also draw pictures from the English books we read and then write a caption about the picture in English.
We have also been doing group presentations on the books from Book Aid International. We chose Animals in Danger because we love animals and when we heard that some animals are extinct, we wanted to see which ones were extinct and why. Next we are going to put the presentations on PowerPoint.
It is very useful having English books because we want to learn English. It is a very international language and will help us all over the world.
To find out more about Waseem’s library and our work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, take a look at the links below.