The Value of a Notebook

It’s hard to understand how a little notebook can mean so much to someone, when there are amazing products like the iPhone and computers that can do anything and everything we could ever ask for. But the reality is that not everyone can have these things. Some people, in fact, don’t even know what an iPad is. I remember when I showed a little girl here in Nicaragua some photos on my iPhone one time and she was blown away by the fact that when I swiped my finger across the screen on the phone, that the photo would change to a different photo. She called it magic. And I suppose, it really is magical. But where did this idea come from? Imagination. Creativity.

Life Out of the Box at The Peace Project in Nicaragua

When you live in a place where the average person lives on just $2 dollars a day, computers, TVs and iPhones aren’t even close to being a priority. But that doesn’t mean that the kids living in these conditions should be deprived of being able to be creative and learn. A notebook is the most basic form of where creativity can be recorded. Imagination can come to life as soon as a pencil hits the paper. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn and the lack of school supplies should never be the reason he or she cannot. Here, it’s more about the needs rather than the wants and that makes life a bit simpler, but no less beautiful than anywhere else. A little goes a long way here. Without a computer or any other typing device, what would you use to write down your thoughts, learn in school, draw, imagine and record your creativity? A notebook.

Life Out of the Box Expands to a New Country

A notebook, to these kids, represents endless possibilities. The notebook is THEIRS. They can draw in it, write in it, use it for school, use it as a journal, write song lyrics in it–the possibilities are endless. It allows kids to be creative, use their imagination and gain confidence in their talent and skills. It’s an opportunity that many people get as a kid in the first world without thinking about it, but an opportunity that unfortunately doesn’t exist for everyone worldwide. We want to change this. We want to make sure that every kid who wants to learn or be creative has the tools to do so. They’re so simple, yet sometimes unattainable when mom is trying to just make sure there’s food on the table for all of her kids.

LOOTB Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

The value of a notebook to children here is priceless. It may be of higher value here than other places, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The children here can create change and help improve their own country but it starts with confidence, creativity and education. And it can all start with a notebook.

Life Out of the Box Giving to Naomi

Since this article was written, Life Out of the Box has given notebooks to thousands of children throughout Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Morocco. To see them all, visit LOOTB Gives

93 thoughts on “The Value of a Notebook

  1. Kitt Crescendo says:

    What a fantastic reminder. In fact…having lived a few years in a third world country, maybe it’s time I reach out to them about sending a care package of notebooks & colored pencils…as well as regular pencils…to maybe hand out to the less fortunate kids in the barrios. Thanks! Afterall, I was born in a pre- smartphone/tablet era…and it was through notebooks that I discovered my love of writing.

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  3. imconfident says:

    It’s really amazing what people can create with just a simple thing like a notebook and some imagination. Many of the great minds from the past didn’t have all these modern devices to work with, yet they brought many wonderful ideas to our world.

  4. alittlecameo says:

    So true and great work you guys! In my neighbourhood here in Colombia every page of notebooks gets used and half used notebooks are not wasted.

    I was recently surfing the net when my boyfriend’s 9yo son came in and asked me what I was reading. I told him it was a story about a 9yo boy in Malawi whose only toy was a plastic bottle fashioned into a car that he shared with some friends in his village. We then had a conversation about it and struck a deal that he thought would be easy to comply with – the next day he was only allowed to play with one toy of his choice (his soccer ball). The next day by 11am there were tears because one toy meant no TV or computer either and he was bored.

    Later that night he came to me with his notebook to learn some English, but first up I told him he had to write 3 things that he’d learned that day. He wrote (my translations from Spanish):
    1. I can’t play with only one toy because I get bored.
    2. We have to help those who don’t have anything.
    3. How to draw objects on graphpaper.
    I have to say I was pretty proud that he learned the lesson and also used his creativity to find ways to entertain himself.

  5. Pingback: The Value of a Notebook | Teacher-preneur

  6. lexi says:

    I love this blog post. It reminds me of when we were in Tanzania. I told my husband that every American needs to visit a place like that once to gain some perspective on life and what matters. A place where children play outside with sticks and rocks and no one even knows what an iPad is. The work you are doing in Nicaragua is great. Keep it up. I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Please see the following link: for more details on how to spread it around if you choose to accept it. I nominated you because I think the dream which you are trying to make come true is a great cause and because I love the content and photos of your posts. Congrats and good luck.

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  8. wnattawan says:

    Perhaps magic has disappeared from many countries that are overwhelmed with advanced technology. Many of us have forgotten how to enjoy and appreciate simple technology. Now, you are living in the land that the magic is still working. Help them (and the rest of us) to keep it that way.

  9. Kathy Bertone says:

    This story touches my heart in a way that you will never know, but I know will appreciate. As a child, and now as a writer and author, my notebook was my private world into which only I could go. Thank you and bless you for giving that to these kids.

    • lifeoutofthebox says:

      What a spectacular comment you left us. Thank you so much. A notebook is truly a wonderful tool that can open up endless possibilities with endless options of directions. I am glad your notebook was an amazing tool that got you to reach success. Thank you!!!

  10. Andy Johnson III says:

    I often thought about the same thing during my recent trip to East Africa. Every time the children get a pen or pencil in hand and some paper to work with, they start writing away. The children in South Sudan often don’t have text books so they write their lessons word for word in their own notebooks so that they can do their homework. Great post!

  11. fantaseasailing says:

    Hey… All I can say is you guys blow me away. Thank you for doing what you are doing and thank you for sharing it with the World. We need people, just like you, everywhere. Maybe I’ll sail away and find a place to continue your work… Maybe. Maybe… Capt. Paul s/v Panacea

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  13. iarxiv says:

    So true… Given a brain and intelligence one can do a lot, but given, in addition, a piece of paper and a pencil, one can do almost anything.

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  15. betess10 says:

    I love this post! It’s so true! You never realize how fortunate you are until you are without! As for notebooks! I love them and use them daily for writing and drawing. The next time I travel, ill bring some with me so I can give some out! LOOTB is super cool!!,

  16. simpleandcute says:

    Wow is amazing, in fact we forget the simplicity of life, we don’t even need a technological device to enjoy our life. I think being surrounded for those kids can show to us the real happiness. enjoy your work over there it seems to be priceless.

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  47. Dale says:

    Good on ya! Enjoyed this “Value of a Notebook” blog. I’m a retired biologist & I love notebooks & how keeping them can enrich life. If you haven’t seen the film “Freedom Writers”, you need to. It is what you are talking about. You might also enjoy the “Painted Dog” blog @ This is from my notebook. Dale

    • lifeoutofthebox says:

      Thanks Dale!! We’ve seen the movie Freedom Writers and love it! We haven’t seen the Painted Dog yet though so we’ll have to check it out. Glad to hear that you love notebooks as well, we completely agree that they really can enrich life. 🙂

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  49. Aimee says:

    This is wonderful 🙂 The kids I teach are very low income in the US…certainly not like your Nicaraguan children, but very needy. I have a prize box full of candy, toys, dollar store jewelry. And I had tiny little notebooks. They were the kids’ favorites! I was so happy to see that. All kids love to express themselves 🙂 Great post!

    • lifeoutofthebox says:

      Thank you so much Aimee! There are children in need all over the world, even (like you said) in our own backyards in the US. It’s wonderful to hear there are people like you making a difference in these kids’ lives. Every little bit counts, including each smile made with a little treat 🙂 If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know. In our eyes, every child is equal. Keep being awesome Aimee!!

  50. Monica says:

    Awww…The kids look really happy! LOOTB’s a blessing!

    I love notebooks myself. I’d rather write schedules, stories (and etc…) in my notebook than type it in from my smartphone’s keypad. I don’t know what (maybe it’s just me) but there’s just something about writing in those pretty bound pads that modern gadgets can’t replace.

  51. Oliver says:

    You guys rock!! Seriously, I just stumbled across your site today and it left me totally flabbergasted! A wonderful concept and a truly inspiring mission indeed. The two of you got me thinking today and I’m sure I will keep following your path and maybe “join in” as well at some point…
    Thanks for the inspiration and the smile on my face! 🙂 Take care and keep on keeping on!!

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