Monday, July 23, 2012

Parnassus Books Junior for Future Readers

Check out Parnassus Books Junior.

Classic Coup announces our new home in the children's section of Parnassus Books. There our “Oliver” onesie snuggles with a new edition, a custom design:  "Parnassus Books Junior Future Reader."  Cool baby gifts, the bodysuits are sized 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Parnassus Books has rallied readers nationwide to support local bookstores.  The passion project of co-owners Karen Hayes and bestselling author Ann Patchett has received attention from The New York Times, NPR, BBC and The Colbert Report.  Though selling books and Google eBooks online, Parnassus offers what many booklovers miss in a virtual world—hands-on browsing, face-to-face conversations, human connection.

This summer I (Cindy McCain) went to Ecuador where Classic Coup sends books to children.  I went with three Nashville students to teach kids and work alongside educators there.  On the plane I read Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder.  Traveling down the Napo River in the Amazon jungle region, I remembered an interview where Patchett spoke of a similar trip to research her book.  Last week the Parnassus Book Club sat down to discuss State of Wonder.   Patchett was present.  

Local and global connection fosters future readers...and adventures beyond books.

Beyond Books and Borders: Trip to Ecuador

This summer a dream came true.  Since starting Classic Coup which sends books to children in Ecuador, I've wanted to meet kids there face-to-face and work alongside the amazing adults who care for them.  From the beginning Kaleo Kids has distributed books and helped us understand how we can make a difference.  The nonprofit was started by long-time friends, Darin and Sherry Coyle, who left the US to assist with sheltering and educating abandoned children in Ecuador.  They work with sister schools: Montebello Christian Academy in Quito (where Sherry teaches English) and Antioch in the Amazon jungle (where Darin leads volunteer work crews in building homes for teachers).   Recently Kaleo Kids has also committed to assist friends who  launched a program for teen moms and their children in Quito. 
With me were  three of my students from Donelson Christian Academy--Jessica, Emory, and Ellison.  All are considering volunteer work in their career fields—missions, medicine, and education.   Together we taught students in both schools, and I worked with teachers and administrators.   We also climbed a mountain Indiana- Jones- style by bamboo ladders, hanging vines, and exposed tree roots to a waterfall in the rain forest, then busted on mudslides coming down.  We played with children on the Napo River, became pals with a Parrot whose alias was “Gringa" while crossing the Andes, and met teen moms and their beautiful babies.

It was great to build relationships with founders/directors of Montebello (Ron and Sharon Stiff) and of the jungle school in Misahualli (Roberto and Charmai Davalos). Both families parent multiple “at- risk” children at home as well as teach them and their peers at school. We also met Boris Salinas,  once a street kid/gang member who Ron and Sharon adopted.  Today Boris and his wife, Fernanda, provide teen moms a safe haven and sustainable income in Quito. Using eco-friendly tagua nuts (“vegetable ivory”) the girls make jewelry to provide for their children.   Boris and Fernanda are setting up sponsorships to assist with the shelter and future education of these children at Montebello.

Going beyond borders and books, we came back with a better understanding of new ways Classic Coup and others can help our neighbors in South America. At the top of the wish list for both schools is teachers/teacher training. To learn more about volunteering/supporting our friends in Ecuador, go to the sites below.  Stay tuned for details on how to assist the teen moms and their children, including where you can buy their jewelry in the US.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July from Classic Coup

from "Pyrotechnics"

Our meeting was like the upward swish of a rocket
In the blue night.
I do not know when it burst;
But now I stand gaping,
In a glory of falling stars.

         --Amy Lowell (1874-1925)