Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a book box?

A book box is a strong metal box filled with books and donated to a school for use as a portable library. Each book box contains about 80 books suitable for children form six to ten years of age. A school may get one or two boxes depending on enrollment. 

Where do the books come from?

African books are purchased from publishers in Kenya and Tanzania. In Kenya most of the books are written in English. Several books, however, are written in Kiswahili and a variety of tribal languages. In Tanzania 80% of the books are written in Kiswahili. African fables and folktales, poetry, animal and nature stories, plays, modern African tales and non-fiction are included in the book boxes. Purchasing these books also helps support African authors, illustrators and publishers.

Where do the boxes come from?

The aluminum boxes are built by local craftsmen in small cottage industries. The boxes are approximately 80 x 40 x 40 cm in size and are waterproof. Sometimes they are painted and decorated as well.

Who is responsible for the care of the boxes and books?

A contact teacher on each staff is made responsible for ensuring boxes are circulated from classroom to classroom. In this way an entire school population of several hundred children have their own portable library. This teacher also relates information back to the Book Box Society about the usefulness of the books, future improvements and needs.

How much does each book box cost?

Since the books are published locally and most of them are in paperback form, most books costs from $3.00 - $12.00. The total cost of the metal box containing approximately 80 books is currently $400 - a bargain basement price for a portable library! The actual cost fluxuate slightly due to the exchange rate and the quality of printing and amount of colour used in the books.

What are our overhead costs and does anyone have a paid position?

Due to an idealistic love of the project, volunteers have kept administrative costs to an absolute minimum. There are no salaried positions in the Book Box Society.