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the literacy ledgerReflections, findings, stories and the lowdown

Meet Worldreader’s New Friends – Charlie, James, and Matilda

October 11, 2011 By

It’s official. Roald Dahl’s well-loved books and classic children’s tales—Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—are now part of the Worldreader collection and will be available to our kids.

Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Children’s Books (U.K.)

We ‘ve worked with Puffin, a division of Penguin Children’s Books in the U.K., to get these titles donated, giving Worldreader’s children and teachers free access to them. We’re thrilled to have Puffin join us in cultivating a culture of reading in the developing world. We can’t think of a better way get to kids to keep flipping virtual ink and fall into a good book.

Our director of digital publishing, Elizabeth Wood, announced the news today while charming publishing executives and book lovers at the Tools of Change Frankfurt Conference 2011. What a perfect addition to her speech about the work we’re doing in Africa!

“This is a huge win for the children in our programs. Dahl’s wicked sense of humor has delighted children—and adults—in the developed world for more than 50 years,” she said. “Now, children in the developing world will have the opportunity to meet Matilda, Augustus Gloop, the evil Aunties Spiker and Sponge, and all of the other wonderful characters from Dahl’s beloved classics. This is the caliber of books we want to offer the children in our programs.  We encourage other publishers to follow suit.  Ask yourself what books would turn reluctant readers into avid readers?  Those are the books we want.”

David Risher, Worldreader’s president and co-founder, went over the moon when he found out (Figuratively, of course…he was in Ghana doing a celebratory dance while visiting the schools).

“No other author has inspired so many children to read. We’re thrilled to help introduce Charlie, James, Matilda, and the rest of Roald Dahl’s characters to a new group of children who have big dreams but, until recently, have had not had access to books,” said David.  “Winning the support of publishers like Puffin strengthens our commitment to reach one million children by 2015.”

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Children’s Books, added, “Puffin is delighted to be working with Worldreader to give children in Africa free access to Roald Dahl books through the Worldreader programme. Roald Dahl books are already available in 34 languages, and this is a great opportunity for his stories to reach even even more widely to children around the world.”

Britain’s Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was a best-selling novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. He has created a lifetime of memories for many young readers and adults alike, and continues to do so. He once said,  “I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”

With that, it seems only right to give a big Web shout-out to the Dahl Estate and David Higham Associates for their support in this project and for making reading even more wonderful. That’s our hat tipping in your direction.

These books complement our growing library of international and African titles available for free to students in our program. Check out the books Worldreader’s kids already have on their e-readers. And more generally, it’s another enormous step towards providing books for all kids in the developing world.

To read official press release, click here.