7 Books to Inspire Youth on International Youth Day


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Celebrating youth around the world 

Greta Thunberg famously said “you’re never too small to make a difference.”  At the age of 15 she began a solo climate protest by striking from school. Since then, she has become one of the world’s most visible campaigners for action on climate change. 

William Kamkwamba was only 13 years old when he built a wind turbine to power electrical appliances in his family’s house in Kasungu, Malawi. All he used was bicycle parts, blue gum trees, and materials collected in a local scrapyard. 

And, at age 17, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy around girls’ education.  

Over the past years, we’ve seen a growing number of youth taking a stand for what they believe – youth who aren’t afraid to change the world. 

Youth represent tremendous potential for our collective future

Take Africa, for example. Most of the readers we reach, together with Opera through the Opera Mini browser, are youth in Africa. In fact, Africa is the youngest continent in the world – 60% of Africans are under the age of 25.

The ones that we’ve been lucky to meet are often incredibly ambitious and optimistic  – no matter the challenges they face. 

If each of these individuals was equipped with the right skills, they could be change makers not only in their communities, but across entire countries, and the continent. 

If you haven’t started reading from the Worldreader library on Opera Mini browser yet, download Opera Mini here to start reading today. 

21st-century skills are essential

That’s why Worldreader and Opera believe in encouraging youth to read ebooks wherever they go with Opera Mini, that compliment their desires to work in a diverse world, while simultaneously fostering 21st-century skills.

This belief is supported by the National Research Council (NRC), who insist that by encouraging deeper learning and higher-order thinking, youth can develop the cognitive and non-cognitive skills to help them succeed in meeting future challenges. 

So what do we mean by 21st-century skills? These refer to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are deemed essential to succeed in today’s world, including:

  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Creativity & innovation
  • Collaboration & teamwork 
  • Community & civic engagement 
  • Computing & information technology 
  • Communication technologies (ICT) & media literacy 
  • College & career readiness 
  • Cultural awareness/cross-cultural interaction 
  • Character development & leadership
  • Curiosity & initiative

7 books to inspire youth

This International Youth Day, together with Opera, we’ve chosen a list of 7 books to inspire youth to overcome challenges, stand up for what they believe in, and learn important 21st-century skills.   

NOTE: These books can be accessed only on mobile phones and tablets. Not all are available in every country.

Against the Odds by David Sangmor

Young Kwaku Obeng, falsely accused of a crime, comes to Accra to seek his fortune and find a means of clearing his name. Homeless and penniless, virtually alone in the world, he strives against the odds in a world that owes him no favours. Will he be able to achieve his dream of becoming a medical doctor? Will his tarnished image be restored? Will he ever be able to go home again?

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Books ’n Bricks at Manyano School by Sindiwe Magona

Manyano School is a scary place, no kidding. The fence has holes big enough for a grown man to run through. And grown men do. The walls of the buildings are thirsty for paint. The buildings themselves look scared. The schoolyard is full of weeds and rubbish: broken bottles, out-of-shape cans, skins from long-ago-eaten bananas, mango pips and things you can no longer tell what they had been before they all got there. We never play in our schoolyard. Too scared of what might happen. And a lot happens in that yard… And most of it isn’t nice stuff. Until…

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An Unassuming Woman by Onis Sampson

An Unassuming Woman revolves around the struggles Belema has in finding genuine love and finding fulfillment in her acting career. The story shows a woman who finds her voice and speaks up irrespective of the forces contending against her. Belema’s experiences and her strong sense of identity and values shed light on similar struggles faced by women in today’s society.

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The Chewing Stick by Medicus Appiah and Hannah Adomako

The twins from Kuronta have a set of beautiful teeth that cause many conversations among their friends when they visit Germany. Their friends make compliments about their teeth, and they try to guess what could possibly cause such perfect whiteness. Can you also guess what it is?

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A Practical Guide: Life & Communication Skills

This is a guide to understanding and achieving a successful decision-making process. The content in the book will help you analyze all possible situations in your life and understand the value of critical thinking and communication with other people. 

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Inspirational Musings by Adegboyega Ojuolape

In ‘Inspirational Musings’, Adegboyega Ojuolape motivates readers with soothing and inspiring words that will help unlock their innate greatness in the most assuring way. He covers different topics that will challenge individuals to rise above every setback and reach for heights no one thought possible. ‘Inspirational Musings’ is a manual for making winning a lifestyle and not just a chance event.

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Albertina Sisulu by Sindiwe Magona and Elinor Sisulu

Albertina Sisulu is revered by South Africans as the true mother of the nation. A survivor of the golden age of the African National Congress, whose life as the second most important figure in the ANC exemplified the underpinning role of women in the struggle against apartheid. This abridged account of Sisulu’s overflowing life provides a fresh understanding of an iconic figure of South African history. 

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