How a Big Book Brought a Firstie to the UN

Rachele Carbutt ’17 (right) at the United Nations

Rachele Carbutt ’17 spoke at the United Nations’ International Youth Peace Conference this month about a project that simultaneously encourages world peace and put her high school in the running for a Guinness World Record for the planet’s largest book.

The story began when Carbutt was a fifth-grade student in Groton, Massachusetts. She joined the Bookmakers and Dreamers Club, whose members were creating the world’s biggest book. Its topic: world peace. Its contents: letters from ordinary citizens and world leaders including Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and the Dalai Lama.

In 2012, Carbutt’s junior year, the billboard-sized book was finished. They narrowly missed the world record, but she remains active in the group’s larger mission.

That goal—to advocate for world peace—has yielded the club an invitation to the International Youth Peace Conference at the United Nations annually since 2008.

“This year’s conference topic was ‘Education and Peace,’ which fit us perfectly, as our main objective is to educate,” Carbutt said. After UN officials spoke, she and other youth leaders gave brief overviews of their projects.

Carbutt talks about the Big Book Project at the 2:29:00 mark in this video of the conference.

For a complete history of the project, visit

—By Emily Harrison Weir