In 2007, with a $3000 grant from the Dr. Seuss Foundation, the founders of what would become From Books to Brilliance purchased 967 books in Managua for beginning and intermediate readers. Maggie Covill, Emily Lopez Padilla, and Kim Covill planned to start a library in a remote community of central Nicaragua. To their delight, much of the literature was locally written and published, perfectly suitable for its future readers. The founders were volunteering with a medical delegation from the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston (UTMB). They placed their precious cargo atop the old, yellow school bus that would transport the doctors, dentists, nurses, medical students, and translators to the town of Mulukuku. Packed with luggage, enough supplies to last for three weeks―and now almost 1000 books―the vehicle seemed loaded beyond capacity.

Kim had come up with the idea for the book project the previous summer after visiting a depressed elementary school in the nearby village of Santa Rita. It was her first summer translating for the delegation. She was appalled to find students practicing their math skills on a worn-out blackboard and scraps of paper in a one-room, windowless shack. With its splintery wooden desks, hardened dirt floor, 97-degree heat and stifling humidity, it seemed an impossible place to learn. And there were no books. After introducing herself, and with the children listening, the teacher said, “Estos niños no tienen futuro” (“These children have no future"). Shocked and saddened by this statement, Kim made the decision to promote the future of those desperately impoverished students through a simple yet powerful literacy program.

Kim, Maggie and Emily were unaware that the first FBTB shipment of children’s books would be the catalyst for reopening Mulukuku’s tiny Biblioteca Samuel Vidaurre. In the mid-1980s, Samuel Vidaurre, son of a local farmer, succeeded in educating himself and gradually emerged as the town’s only teacher. A modest collection of reference books and literature became the foundation of a village library. In 1987, during the Sandinista-Contra war, armed guerillas detained Samuel and the group he was traveling with as they returned from a nearby village. Because of his uncalloused hands, Samuel was suspected of being both educated and a threat to the soldiers’ cause. Without warning he was shot in the head and died on the way back to Mulukuku. The library closed.

Twenty years later, with the addition of the books purchased by FBTB, the Samuel Vidaurre village library opened its doors and began to serve its community once again.


Books do not exist in countless villages of the world. Children learn to read from the classroom blackboard but without books cannot read to learn.


From Books to Brilliance (FBTB) creates lending libraries and reading initiatives in underserved communities. By purchasing all resources in the target countries, we provide age and culturally appropriate educational materials as well as strengthen local economies. Citizens gather to read, study, recreate, and plan for a future … one different than their past.


FBTB works diligently with local partners to sustain and grow these village libraries. By providing resources that meet the unique needs of citizens, FBTB libraries will serve ever-growing populations well into the future, educating citizens and edifying communities.


to learn


to empower


to lead

Many children learn to read but cannot read to learn.

Our Projects and Libraries

FBTB promotes literacy in underserved rural communities of Central America and the United States. Without literacy skills, entire communities are left behind for generations.

FBTB lending libraries are sanctuaries where residents gather to read, study, and dream. They foster the love of books and learning and the power of knowledge.

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© From Books to Brilliance 2021