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The Hands Literacy Award recognizes Eastern Caribbean schools, libraries, reading programs, and after-school youth centers that are leading the way in child literacy—and we reward them with U.S. $1,000 in books or literacy resources of their choice. We choose the winners on: creating, rejuvenating, and sustaining a lending library; commitment to literacy by staff; "ownership" of the library by children; literacy-focused initiatives such as a student librarian program, remedial reading, book clubs, and poetry and writing groups; library infrastructure improvements; involvement by community members.
Go, team! (photo, left to right) Richland Park Government School Literacy Team members Cypicie Cordice, Barbara Oliver, and Cordelia Simon; Literacy Coordinator Glennis Thomas; U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Stephanie Barr; Principal Carol Miller.
Richland Park Government School
Stronger Together. Some school libraries depend upon a “champion”—one energetic teacher or a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer to create/rejuvenate and then maintain/operate the school library. That is fine—except that when the champion is transferred to another school or decides to go elsewhere, very often the library goes dormant because no one else steps up to run it. (It’s really too much time and responsibility for any one person’s shoulders, especially when they have other duties, such as teaching.) That’s why Hands always advocates forming a Library Team, like the one you see here at Richland Park Government School, a 199-student rural school located high above the fertile Marriaqua Valley in central St. Vincent. Three teachers, a Literacy Coordinator, a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, and the school Principal happily share the library duties. Each person is committed to the long-term sustainability of the library and its resources, and each person has a say in the operation and activities that take place in the library. Did we mention that a Student Librarian program is next for the school? Their teamwork will grow stronger than ever.
ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES Honorable Mentions: Colonarie Government School • Lauders Primary School • Paget Farm Primary School • Pamelus Burke Government School • Park Hill Government School • South Rivers Methodist Primary School • Spring Village Methodist Primary School • Stubbs Primary School
Happy day! Students at Saltibus RC Combined School celebrated winning the Hands Literacy Award with their Principal, Joyceline Nuptial-Charles, in the background.

Saltibus RC Combined School
The Most Beautiful Idea in the School. What is the purpose of a library? Is the purpose to look orderly and beautiful, or is it to enable beautiful thinking and exciting discoveries, and to open the door to new ideas and opportunities? At Saltibus RC Combined School, a 110-student rural school way up in the mountains of the southern end of St. Lucia, school staffers have created a library that is beautiful in every sense of the word. And it’s all working in real life. Teachers read aloud to their classes when they bring them to the library. The library is a very busy place during Literacy Month (May), when activities include: Character Day, Get Caught Reading, Reading 50 Books Competition, Sustained Silent Reading, Drop Everything and Read. There are also activities for parents and school staff: Spelling Quiz, Elocution, Essay Competition, Round Robin Reading, and more. The school has a Student Librarian program in operation, too. All of which makes the library—and the Principal, teachers, and students responsible for it—a beautiful thing.
ST. LUCIA Honorable Mentions: Ave Maria RC Primary School • Bexon Primary School • Canaries Infant School • Deniere Riviere Combined School • Desruisseaux RC Combined School • Jon Odlum Secondary School • Laborie RC Boys Primary School • Roseau RC Combined School • Vide Bouteille Primary School

Students with Bagatelle Primary School’s literacy crew (from left to right): former Librarian Hilicia Harriette; current Librarian Melina Anselm; visiting guest Hands Co-Founder Tom (“T.L.”) Linskey; and Principal Angela Gregoire
Bagatelle Primary School
Child Literacy Means All of Us. We’ve seen it over and over—when all of the staff and students embrace the school library, literacy takes off. That’s the buzz surrounding the library at Bagatelle Primary School, a 52-student rural school on the southeast coast of Dominica. Celia Sorhaindo, the Hands Literacy Link for Dominica, reports the following: “There is a great reading culture at the school and teamwork throughout the staff. Melina Anselm, who took over from Hilicia Harriette, is doing a good job as library manager. She has re-organised the shelves, books are categorized, new shelf labels (need laminating), more books are front-facing, she has posted lots of inspirational literacy material around the library, and made a word tree, a games basket, and more to draw in the children. The teachers use the library regularly and Melina lets them know about books that are in the library which may help with certain lessons. Melina sometimes stays late to help students with project work. The older students often assist the younger ones without being asked. Most teachers accompany their students for library time. Students help keep the library in order.” Bagatelle Primary School was awarded the 2016-2017 Hands Literacy Award for Dominica, for the school’s exemplary teamwork that has fostered a rich environment for advances in child literacy.
DOMINICA Honorable Mentions: Belles Primary School • Concord Primary School • Newtown Primary School • Pierre Charles Secondary School • Massacre-Canefield Primary School • Roosevelt Douglas Primary School • St. John's RC Primary School
Students with (left to right) Harriet Linskey, Co-Founder, Hands Across the Sea, and Shundalyn Niles-Scott, Principal, Constantine Methodist Primary School.
Constantine Methodist Primary School
“Our Cute Little Closet-Size Library.” While Principal Shundalyn Niles-Scott readily admits that her school library is small (about 10 by 12 feet), she knows how powerful it is. With the help of a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, a storage room stuffed with cleaning supplies and unused, “donation dumped” teacher’s workbooks were cleaned out and the space was turned into this rural school’s first-ever library. Hands partnered with the school and sent 789 new amazing books, about a dozen children were trained in the Student Librarian program, and suddenly the cute little closet-size library was facilitating 168 students from Grade K to Grade 6. This little library is a big success story in every respect—especially because the school decided that books and reading are so important that the school library was a priority. Is available space, whether it is big, medium, or small, the determinant of a great school library? If not, what is? One word: Passion.
GRENADA Honorable Mentions: Grenada Christian Academy • Grenada SDA Comprehensive Secondary School • St. Dominic's RC Primary School • St. George’s Anglican Junior School • St. John's Christian Secondary School • St. Michael's RC Primary School
Charlestown Primary School's rejuvenated, candy-colored library pulls in a whole lot of excited student readers, from Grade K to Grade 6

Charlestown Primary School
When Creativity Spurs Literacy. A dynamic duo at Charlestown Primary School—Principal Latoya Jeffers and Librarian Eulana Weekes-Batson—have created an irresistible, candy-colored library that draws children inside, where they find over 1,000 new amazing books from Hands and fun activities that make books and reading come alive. Heidi Fagerberg, the Hands Literacy Link for St. Kitts and Nevis, reports: “The children, especially the boys, are showing great interest in the library. They are not only reading but helping to stamp books, open the windows, and make book pockets. The school has also started a Saturday Book Club where they read storybooks, do a word-search puzzle, play ‘hangman,’ and have discussions about what they have read. They regularly invent literacy activities, such as a ‘Book Blast’ with ice cream, where a child has to summarize their book in one minute in order to have an ice cream. There’s another activity called a ‘Book Fiesta’ where books are on display as the story is being dramatized by children, cookbooks are on display along with prepared foods, and a class libraries competition is held.” For pure creativity and inventiveness, Hands has awarded Charlestown Primary School (328 children, located on Nevis) the 2016-2017 Hands Literacy Award for St. Kitts and Nevis.
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS Honorable Mentions: Cayon High School (St. Kitts) • Dr. William Connor Primary School (St. Kitts) • Gingerland Secondary School (Nevis) • Sandy Point Primary School (St. Kitts) • St. James Primary School (Nevis) • Tucker Clarke Primary School (St. Kitts)

Liberta Primary School's Librarian/Reading Teacher, Luanda Haywood, brought creativity to the school library—and gained some avid readers and library helpers
Liberta Primary School
A Cool New Library Is Born. Thanks to funding from the Stony Point Foundation, this school library rose from drab nothingness to jazzy coolness in a short time. Back in March 2015 the library space, which consists of two small rooms adjacent to the school’s kitchen, was littered with black sacks of garbage and cast-off “school stuff,” and there were no books on the shelves. Librarian/Reading Teacher Luanda Haywood set out to turn things around. First, she embraced the methodology of the Hands Across the Sea Library Manual for Primary Schools. Then she lured volunteers to the school to help with the cleanup and painting of the library space. After the 822 new amazing books from Hands arrived, Haywood displayed them in an enticing, covers-out fashion, and has continued to stoke the interest of students with special themes and library activities. Most of all, she has made the library a welcoming, fun place for students to relax and explore new books and new ideas. Notes Lisa Tomlinson, the Hands Literacy Link for Antigua: “The children love the library! They participated in all areas of preparation, from painting the walls and the mural to color-coding the books and putting the reading corner mat together. They have a real sense of belonging.”
ANTIGUA Honorable Mentions: Golden Grove Primary School • J. T. Ambrose Primary School • Jennings Primary School • Potters Primary School • Princess Margaret Secondary School • Urlings Primary School
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Hands Across the Sea is approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Hands Across the Sea’s Federal Identification Number (EIN) is 20-5897380.
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