Tag Archives: West Bank

Reading activity in Uganda

Enjoying stories across the world

The books that supporters like you help to send are loved by children across the world!

Here, we’ve gathered together some of their favourite reads which they shared with us to mark World Book Day on the 5th March:


Reading can open up a whole new world to the reader, you can become whoever you want to be – a pirate, a spy, a princess, or an animal. By reading you can travel, explore new worlds, and go on adventures. All that is possible just by opening up a book.

– Clarissa, Street Children Empowerment Foundation, Ghana.


Thimpu, Bhutan

Bhutan book club


Keen young readers in Thimpu, Bhutan, love visiting their local READ Model Centre after school where Ms. Yangcen leads read aloud sessions. Recently, she read I Love Mum with the Very Hungry Caterpillar.


Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya

Enjoying books at DADREG's library in Nairobi


In Nairobi’s Dandora slum in Kenya, the community library run by our partner DADREG is a place that children love to visit to share stories. It’s a place that keeps them busy away from the local landfill site where many of them often join their families to sift for items to sell to make ends meet:

Reading storybooks puts smiles on our faces and books make learning exciting!


Enjoying books in Ghana


In Ghana, the kids at the schools and libraries supported by our partner Rainbow Trust love to read all sorts of books; here they show off just a few of them!

We love reading these books because they are colourful and packed full of fun! Some of the books, like Samson: The Mighty Flee and The Wildest Cowboy encourage the children that with perseverance, they can succeed.

Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya

The kids who read at Mathare Youth Sport Association’s (MYSA) libraries in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya, are lucky enough to have lots of staff and volunteers who read all sorts of stories with them.

Sharing stories at MYSA in Kenya


At MYSA’s Mathare North Library the kids recently listened to Librarian Stephen reading We Could Help:

Here in the Mathare slums, people litter everywhere so I chose ‘We Could Help’ so the children realise that they can join hands to clean their communities for a better tomorrow.

– Stephen

And Library Attendant Charles, read them The Little Dancer and Other Stories – because they love to dance!

Sharing stories at MYSA in Kenya

Most of the children I was reading the story to are in the library dancing club. So I thought the story might encourage them to continue dancing and maybe think of starting a ballet dancing club in the library.

– Charles


Banjul, The Gambia

Reading at Gambia National Library Service Authority


All sorts of children’s fiction and non-fiction books are loved by the kids who read at the Gambia National Library Service Authority’s library! They especially love story books.


Kpando, Ghana

Sharing stories in class in Ghana


The kids at Delta Preparatory School’s Library Club (which gets books from its local Ghana Library Authority branch) love sharing the The Stone Age to the Iron Age book and learning how tools and farming techniques have changed.


Gaza Strip and the West Bank

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, our partner Tamer Instuitue for Community Education organises all sorts of reading workshops and activities, book launches, discussions and good old read alouds!


Musanze, Rwanda

Reading at Agati Library in Rwanda


In Rwanda, the kids at Agati Library in Musanze particularly love to be read Momo and Snap, a picture book about the ups and downs of the friendship between a young monkey and a young crocodile.

Reading Momo and Snap creates a feeling of excitement, thrill and even friendship.

Gwanda, Zimbabwe

Young readers at the Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library in Zimbabwe love Funnybones so much that they request it again and again!


Tonkolili, Sierra Leone

Reading at Tonkolili District Library


In Sierra Leone, children enjoy reading all sorts of books and stories but at Tonkolili District Children’s Library, The Dinosaur Who Pooped A Lot! is a particular favourite!


Jamestown, Accra, Ghana

Sharing stories at Street Children Empowerment Foundation in Ghana


The children at Street Children Empowerment Foundation’s library in Accra, Ghana are currently reading a book called Mine:

The children love the illustrations and we chose this book because it teaches the children how important sharing is. Sharing spreads happiness – and so do books!


We are continuing to work with our partners as much as possible and support them wherever we can as they respond to COVID-19 and find new ways to give as many people as possible access to brand new books.


Books that inspire

In the West Bank, books you help to send aren’t just being read. They are being used to inspire budding artists, create new ideas for local publishing and take young people on journeys to far off cultures and lands.

Here, Renad Qubbaj the General Director of Tamer Institute for Community Education tells us more.

The books from Book Aid International are important for Tamer Institute Resource Centre, artists in Palestine, children and teachers.

Raghad reads aloud
Librarian Raghad reads to children from a donated book at Battir Municipal Library

They help children here to travel to cities and countries and cross borders that they are not able to cross in reality:

I read short stories for the children. These books help us to discover the whole world because we are not able to visit due to the Palestinian situation. Without them, we wouldn’t have enjoyed all the journeys we went on and continue going on together.

– Raghad, Librarian, Battir Municipal Library.

The books are also a great source of inspiration for us at the Tamer Institute – they provide our resource centre with many ideas that can be developed into reading activities.

We also have a small publishing unit and these books give Tamer and Palestinian artists and designers ideas for illustrations and book design.


School librarian Maha
School librarian Maha entertains children with a reading from one of the books published by Tamer

In 2018, we also received many braille books from Book Aid International and these books are not found locally so it’s a great opportunity for blind people to read.

For those interested in learning English or improving  their language, the books are a great source:

I study English Language and Literature at Bethlehem University. I love reading and writing and learning new languages and discovering new cultures. Therefore, I think I’m lucky to have English books in our library. They really help me in building my English language.

– Raghad, Librarian, Battir Municipal Library.

Many school pupils and university students who are interested in visual art use these books to learn from and design games, cards, films and pop up books. They find the books very inspiring.

I’m interested in drawing and I use the books you donate to know more about illustrators and their work. These books gives joy to my life, and the opportunity to feel free. I think that without these books I wouldn’t have the chance to know about other cultures and the different artistic styles including illustrations and illustrations from different cultures.

– Mayas Omar, 13, Beitforik village, Nablus.


Reading activity

Inspiring young minds in the West Bank

Last year, you helped us to send over 400,000 brand new children’s books to young readers around the world.

Bright and engaging children’s books are not only fun to read but they can inspire young imaginations, help children overcome their fears and learn how to navigate the world around them. Librarians, teachers and storytellers are an integral part of enabling to children get the most out of books and encouraging a love of reading from a young age.

We talked to Hamzeh, Raghad and Nidaa in the West Bank about the books they particularly love to share with the children they work with:


Hamzeh, Palestinian storyteller


Farmer Enno


Farmer Enno and His Cow by Jens Rassmus

I was fascinated by these lines from the story:

“What shall we do now?” he asked. “Now that I’ve seen the ocean, I don’t want to be a farmer. I want to sail the high seas, but the ships are gone.”

“Don’t worry” said Africa. “Sell your farm and buy a ship.”

I believe that it’s important that our children learn that no doctor can cure their dreams. Dreams only stop being dreams when they became reality. This story teaches children to follow their dreams and to break all the boundaries that prevent them from accomplishing what they want. As a story teller, I believe in spreading positive messages; and this is my message to children.

Raghad, library volunteer, Battir


Raghad (pictured right) with some of her readers holding up books they read together, including Each Kindness (centre)


Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

I always borrow this story and discuss it with the children at Battir Public Library and develop activities around it for them. This story touches the children. Each time I read it to them, they tell me that they don’t want to miss any chance to be kind to others. This lights something inside me.

Nidaa, librarian, Hebron


Nidaa with her copy of The Dark which she reads with the children at her library


The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Fear of the dark is fear of the unknown. If you are unable to see what is out there, your imagination is quite adept at filling in the frightening gaps for you.  This book teaches children that everything has a reason to be.

There is a creaky, old roof mentioned earlier in the book but, “without that creaky old roof, the rain would fall on your bed.” Understanding why something is there helps to conquer one’s fear of it.


Hamzeh, Raghad and Nidaa are just some of the inspiring people who bring to life the books you help to send. Meet more inspiring librarians and learn about our work to support their skills development using the links below.


Bani Naim library

Books empowering women in Palestine

It’s International Women’s Day and today we are celebrating how access to books can be transformative for women and girls.

Haneen is the Programmes Coordinator at our partner Tamer Institute for Community Education, a non-profit working in the West Bank and Gaza (the Occupied Palestinian Territories) to support both formal and informal education and learning under the difficult social and economic conditions they experience.




All Palestinians’ freedom of movement is restricted by a complex system of controls, such as permits, checkpoints, roadblocks and segregation wall. [1]

We talked to Haneen about the difference books make for her as a young woman living in Jerusalem and how she thinks they can help other women and girls like her cope with the challenges they face and pursue their ambitions.


The wall
The wall, check points, road blocks and travel permits restrict freedom of movement in the OPT


What are the particular challenges that women living in Palestine face?

Women in Palestine face many challenges on a daily basis. In general terms, Palestinian women suffer from a low employment rate. The poor infrastructure and almost total absence of public transit to and from Palestinian Arab villages play a central role in women’s social exclusion and have a particularly negative effect on their ability, though not on their willingness, to join the work force.

The separation wall has resulted in the permanent division of communities and restricts access to medical care, schools and workplaces. The Wall, as well as the over 500 other obstacles throughout Palestine (including checkpoints and road blocks) have greatly increased travel time and costs. These restrictions present particular risks for expectant mothers, resulting in the denial of their right to health. Furthermore, frequent body searches at checkpoints do not, as a rule, observe women’s right to privacy.

Although men are those most often imprisoned by Israeli occupation, women bear the costs of their detention: the burden of running a household and raising children, as well as interceding on behalf of prisoners, visiting and taking care of them once released – all weigh heavily on women’s shoulders

I face the wall and the checkpoints on a daily basis. My privacy is violated on a daily basis too. I often feel that my life is wasted waiting on checkpoints to cross from one city to another.

Girls reading in Gaza
Books help Haneen to see beyond the wall and to dare to dream


How have books helped you to overcome or cope with these challenges?

For me, books are a spiritual resource to shore myself up against challenges. They give me a reason to hope and dream, develop my identity, strengthen my confidence.

Books create a solid ground for me where I can feel stable and safe. They open a wide window to a normal life; to many other lives that I could have lived.

For me books can shorten the waiting time in front of any checkpoint and shorten the distance between imagination and reality. Books make me see what is beyond the walls and to dare to dream.


Girls reading
For Haneen, books are a way to travel and learn even when movements are restricted


How do you think books can help other women and girls in Palestine?

Books can bring Palestine closer to those who can’t see it because of all the barriers built by the occupation. It makes you imagine the sea even if you can’t reach it, it makes you imagine the plane, the train . . .

Books make you travel, learn and most importantly reach what you are unable to reach in reality. They give strength to fight to overcome challenges and overcome barriers, both the physical and mental ones. I believe that books can help Palestinian girls and women live a better life than what they are living in reality.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14630174

Waseem and friends reading

Waseem’s library

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 West Bank
Waseem at the library with his friend Yamen

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:


Waseem reading


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.


Waseem's favourite book
Bish Bash Bosh is Waseem’s favourite English book


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.


Giving a presentation
Waseem and other children at the library give presentations about the English books they have read to help with their language learning


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.



October Book of the Month

Our October Book of the Month is:


Looking at the Stars
Looking at the Stars by Jo Cotterill. Published by Oxford University Press, donated by the British Library


What if all you had left were the stories in your head?

Looking at the Stars is a novel for young adults that vividly portrays the experience of people displaced by war and conflict.

When Amina’s homeland is ravaged by war, she, her two sisters and their mother have no choice but to flee. Together they begin a long and arduous journey to find sanctuary in a refugee camp. As they wander, the stars above them inspire stories which help Amina to distract herself from the realities around her.

This book is part of Oxford University Press’ Rollercoaster series, specially designed for teachers to use with a class. It includes questions to guide group discussions and help pupils to imagine themselves in the girls’ situation. It will be welcomed by school librarians like Maha in the West Bank to use for reading activities with her pupils and Mayol in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya who likes to read about people who have overcome challenges in their lives.