More African Books Coming Our Way
Kids in Africa will soon have access to more local books thanks to recently signed deals with several new publishers in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
Please join us in welcoming our new partners.
- Bookmark Africa
- Mvule Africa Publishers
- Dzuka Publishing Company
- E+V Publishers
- Jhango Publishers
- Malawi National Library Services
- Botsotso Publishing
- Storytime Africa
- E&D Vision Publishing
- Mkonko Publishers
- ReadIt Books
- Tanzania Educational Publishers
Why Do More African Books Matter?
One of the defining aspects of Worldreader’s work is our strong ties to local publishers. These partnerships allow us to ensure that content is relevant, a suitable level and homegrown.
The importance and value of homegrown literature cannot be overrated.
Consider the analogy of Ralph Waldo Emerson calling in 1837 for the ushering in of a distinctly American literature in his speech “The American Scholar,” anticipating the gravity of the Transcendental movement on the young country’s letters: “We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe.”
Likewise, hear the grain of Kenya’s literary godfather and proponent of the Gikuyu language, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, as he writes in “Literature and Society,”
“A Russian child grows under the influence of his native imaginative literature: a Chinese, a Frenchman, a German or an Englishman first imbibes his national literature before attempting to take in other worlds. That the central taproot of his cultural nourishment should lie deep in his native soil is taken for granted.”
In measuring how a young reader might identify with the story she reads—be it with the protagonist of a story or the framework which allows her to place herself within the social, historical and cultural context of her immediate environment, home and family— it is key to allow her to ground her experience in the world around her.
We joke a fair amount about the 1974 atlas of Utah a member of the Worldreader team found in a mostly-empty bookcase in one of our schools. The year isn’t very important and I don’t remember if this was the exact title, but it has since become emblematic of exactly that for which we are not looking. Books like these often offer limited information to today’s students, keep developing communities disconnected from the world, and create a lackluster interest in reading.
Therefore, instead of outdated texts about obscure places (in the greater scheme of things and as they specifically relate to African children…sorry, Utah), we look to provide students in the Kisumu region of Kenya with the Kisumu County specific edition of Comprehensive Social Studies: Living Together in Our County provided by our partner Longhorn or Ghanaian students with Citizenship Education in Ghana for Primary Schools from publisher EPP. Our driving hope in improving literacy in Africa is that if children can learn in their native languages and access content familiar and relevant to them, they will grow into avid adult readers. Maybe, they’ll even be inspired to write the books that have yet to be written for tomorrow.
An additional important facet of our partnerships is that we work with publishers to digitize their content and introduce them to new markets. So while they may today be donating e-books to our programs, together we are helping to foment a culture of reading into which that child grown up can add her own stories, and it is this which is crucial to creating a legacy of reading.
In the coming weeks, we will have more details about the stories, reading materials and textbooks our new partners will be adding to our library. Keep an eye on our collection–books are being added all the time. If you are an African publisher who wants to get involved or if you’re a teacher, school official or Worldreader partner working with one of our e-reader programs and would like to recommend other African books that may be appropriate for primary, middle and high school students, please contact us at email@example.com.