About Books for a Better World

Books for a Better World  partners with schools in our host countries to create libraries or to add to existing library collections in rural areas. Language development and vocabulary building are emphasized through the use of the charming, imaginative stories and legends from all parts of the world.

Our Goals 

• To cultivate a love of learning

• To create the habit of reading

• To increase self-esteem

• To increase language skills, both oral comprehension and speaking ability

• To open the world for young students through the magic of literature

• To inspire imagination through the beauty of language and illustrations

• To cultivate humor and a sense of well being as one learns to laugh at oneself and with others

Our Mission

Literacy is the dedicated purpose of Books for a Better World. We seek to inspire, empower, and motivate children to achieve their full potential by helping them to develop a lifelong love of learning.

Board of Directors

Books for a Better World has a very talented all-volunteer board of directors from a variety of different backgrounds, located all over the United States. Our unwavering focus is to bring books and school supplies to the deserving children in our partner countries. We invite you to learn more about us and what we do. 

Kira Gartell, President

Lisa Schuring, Vice President

Elise Riker, Secretary

Jennifer Turner, Treasurer

Dana Friedeman 

Alice Finn Gartell

Dayna Tanner

Our History and our Founder, Kae Robb

Books for a Better World was founded in the year 2000 by Kae Robb, a Spanish teacherfrom Phoenix, Arizona, USA. With the help of several enthusiastic volunteers, Kae began to deliver books to schools in Guatemala...one backpack at a time. 

As a child, Kae was an avid reader and explored the world through the magic of books. After studying Spanish in school, Kae traveled to Mexico, her first trip outside of the United States. She formed close bonds with the people who made her feel at home wherever she went, and always carried a few books to pass along to others after reading.

Kae’s interest in spreading literacy throughout Central America grew while visiting her daughter, Stephanie, who was stationed in Guatemala with the Peace Corps in 1997. Kae learned that the children had no access to storybooks and she wanted to change that. It was then, with the help of local teachers Mily and Lorenzo Reyes, that the idea for Books for a Better World took off.

Kae returned to Central America several times, bringing the joy of reading to children who did not know that books could be fun. She helped children expand their imaginations and experience the sheer joy of discovery and the beauty of stories. She inspired and empowered children to be curious and to always keep learning. When Kae read new books to children, she knew that she was changing the world.

Sadly, in the summer of 2004, Kae lost her long fight against breast cancer, but her legacy lives on through Books for a Better World. As of 2020, every year Books for a Better World delivers thousands of books to over 100 rural schools in Guatemala, El Salador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and hopes to someday fulfill Kae’s dream of 1,000 libraries.

It was Kae’s tireless spirit, endless optimism and amazing vision that has brought Books for a Better World to the place it stands today, a place where thousands of children in Central and South America are experiencing the joys of reading. It is with great sadness that Books for a Better World and the community at large has lost such an amazing woman. As Books for a Better World continues in her absence, we are determined to uphold the organization at a level that is worthy of such a remarkable woman.

Learn more about the children's book we wrote about Kae's story, Mochila de sueños/Backpack of Dreams

Kae Robb