We love hearing from students, teachers, authors, illustrators, volunteers, publishers –anyone who’s interested in literacy development and carrying the power of stories to schools in the Eastern Caribbean.

Our Board Members

Sonya White, OCT
Co-Executive Director

Sonya has been a teacher with Simcoe County and Upper Grand DSBs for over 20 years. At present, she is an Itinerant Special Education Resource Teacher for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. In June 2017, Sonya was the recipient of the Fred L. Bartlett Memorial Award given by Ontario Public School Boards’ Association for outstanding contribution to education in Ontario.

Richard Clewes, OCT
Co-Executive Director

Richard’s love of words and pictures has guided his career as a writer and graphic designer for over 30 years. From 2007 – 2012 he was a member of the Board of the International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. He is formerly a sessional instructor at OCAD University and the author of Finding Lily: A Memoir (2006). Prior to his career in design, he was a high school teacher in Ontario and The Bahamas.

Leonise Francois
Board Member

In St. Lucia, Leonise François is our Country Lead, co-ordinating book donations throughout the country and managing the annual Rainforest of Reading festivals each March Break. Prior to her retirement as Deputy Chief Education Officer in St. Lucia, Leonise was a teacher in Durham Catholic DSB. Leonise holds a Master in Education from McGill University. Since 2013, Leonise has been a member of the St. Lucia Teaching Service Commission overseeing teacher and principal appointments.

Robin Coster
Board Member

Robin Coster has practiced for over 20 years in Ontario as a technology lawyer and patent and trademark agent with a focus on strategic management of intellectual property (IP) assets including technology contracting, IP asset due diligence and drafting, prosecution and management of international patent and trademark portfolios. Prior to establishing his own firm, Coster Law, Robin was a partner with Torys where he helped establish the firm’s IP department and acted as IP advisor on a number of Canada’s major corporate transactions and advised a number of Canada’s leading companies on their IP strategy. Since 2010, Robin has been recognized by his peers in The Best Lawyers in Canada ® in the field of intellectual property law.

Peter Kendall
Board Member

Peter Kendall is the Executive Director and CEO of Earth Rangers, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring children to Bring Back the Wild™. The program’s focus is to communicate a positive science – based message on the importance of protecting biodiversity. Peter has been with Earth Rangers since its inception in 1999 and also serves as the Executive Director of The Schad Foundation. He has been instrumental in the development of many of its major projects including Niigon, a $23-million partnership with the Moose Deer Point First Nation to create a role model for sustainable development within an aboriginal community. Prior to joining The Schad Foundation, Peter held senior executive positions with different technology and organic foods companies.

Marlaina White
Youth Ambassador

Even from a young age, Marlaina has shown a strong conviction to make a difference. She is determined to motivate other students in Ontario to generously donate books so students in the Caribbean can have the same chances to imagine countless possibilities for their own future. As Student Ambassador, Marlaina helps create literacy-based activities for Rainforest of Reading. She also works tirelessly at every festival strengthening her love of reading and nurturing deep personal connections with her Caribbean counterparts.

And the Winner in Montserrat is....
Marlaina White (Left) announces the Second Annual Rainforest of Reading Award to Illustrator Jan Dolby (Middle) and Author Joyce Grant for "Gabby."

At the moment that we persuade a child, any child to cross...that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever.

Find 52: The Road to Reading in Grenada
In February 2015, Richard ran right around Grenada, a distance of 52 miles. 52 "Mile Captains" raised $40,000.

If we want to make this world a better place, then we have to become better ourselves. There is no easy route.


Life is too deep for words so don't try to describe it, just live it.

C. S. Lewis
Author, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

It is by acts and not ideals that people live.

Author (1844-1924)
Challenging literacy development
Although English is the official language of St. Lucia, Krewyol is spoken as much or more outside the classroom.

I read. I travel. I become.

St. Lucian author & 1992 Nobel Laureate

If you believe what you read...you can, quite literally, believe anything.

Professor, Philosopher (1912-1991)

The future is always beginning now. Each moment is a place you've never been.

Poet (1934-2014)

Start some kind words on its travels. There is no telling where the good it may do will stop.

Sir Wilfred Grenfell
Humanitarian, Medical Missionary (1865-1940)

Reading brings us unknown friends.

Novelist (1799-1850)

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

Philosopher, Psychologist (1842-1910)

If you get the right [words] in the right order, you might nudge the world a little.

Sir Tom Stoppard
It's a long story
Books packed by kids in Ontario for their peers in the Caribbean travel 1,800 kilometres by road then another 5,275 kilometres by container ship.

Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.

Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)

All I know is what I have words for.

Ludwig Wittgenstein
Out of this world
After reading "Postcards from Outer Space' a student in Montserrat is inspired to be the next Chris Hadfield.

Too many people grow up. That's the trouble with the world.


A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.

Author (1810-1889)