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Hands Across the Sea is dedicated
to raising the literacy levels
of Eastern Caribbean children
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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.
That's the spirit! The destruction of Hurricane Maria behind them, everyone at Jones Beaupierre Primary School is more excited than ever about books, reading, and the school library.
Jones Beaupierre Primary School
The Spirit of Dominica. Darkness was falling when, on September 18, 2017, Hurricane Maria descended on Dominica. Over the next eight hours the Category 5 storm killed 31 people and damaged 95% of homes and schools on the island. Exposed to the Atlantic Ocean, Jones Beaupierre Primary School (90 students, Grades K to 6) was hit hard—160 mile-per-hour winds tore off the school's roofs, blew out windows and doors, and two feet of rain—a firehose—ruined whatever was left inside the school's walls.

The storm was the deadliest, most destructive hurricane in Dominica's history. But it did not defeat the school's spirit. Principal Martha Stephenson and her teachers vowed that the hurricane would not take away the gains in child literacy that they'd made with their school library. The extensive rebuilding of the school would include—of course—the repair and resurrection of the school library. The students' love affair with reading must continue.

Now the library at Jones Beaupierre Primary School is better than ever—colorful, welcoming, child-friendly, a magnet for students of every grade and reading ability. Hands Across the Sea wishes to recognize and celebrate the dedication of Jones Beaupierre Primary School to the advancement of child literacy.

Sixty other schools on the island were severely damaged, and many school staff and students lost their homes, belongings, and loved ones—almost every school on Dominica is in some stage of post-disaster recovery. There are many stories of recovery and resilience. The spirit of Jones Beaupierre Primary School is an inspiration to all.
DOMINICA Honorable Mentions: Atkinson School • Bagatelle Primary School • Castle Bruce Primary School • Giraudel Primary School • Isaiah Thomas Secondary School • Roosevelt Douglas Primary School • Salisbury Primary School • Wesley Primary School