Working together to close the children’s book gap
387 million children and adolescents around the world lack basic reading skills.
This doesn’t just harm these children and their own prospects for educational and economic success later in life, but it harms us all. In fact, illiteracy costs governments and economies $129 billion per year.
These children are held back because they lack books, and the books they do have access to are often in a language that children don’t speak at home or at an incorrect reading level. For example, In Malawi, there are about 2.2 million native speakers of Tumbuka and another 2.2 million native speakers of Yao. Yet there are fewer than 20 reading book titles available in either language.
No one intervention will be enough to fix this, but we can work together to close the children’s book gap. The Global Book Alliance was launched to bring books to every child in the world by 2030. Its mission is to transform the world’s book chain – building a robust ecosystem in which organizations, local publishers, and governments efficiently provide high-quality books to the communities, schools, and children that demand them. One of the Alliance’s first flagship initiatives, the Global Digital Library, makes high-quality, openly licensed digital reading books available on mobile devices, the web, or for print. The platform will provide reading books in more than 100 languages by 2020.
“The Global Book Alliance has been established to ensure the world’s children have access to quality books in a language that they understand so that they can learn to read, read to learn, and develop a love of reading.”
– GBA Strategy
Redstone helped craft a strategy to launch the global book chain and helped design a structure for coordination that could bring together the organizations that would become the Global Book Alliance.
In 2018, the Global Digital Library celebrated its launch in Ethiopia. It will host openly licensed high-quality reading resources in seven Ethiopian languages in addition to library resources for leisure reading in three Ethiopian languages from African Storybook.