I recently quoted a UN Development Programme literacy survey that said South Africa lags behind other African countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho and Libya, in spite of its huge investment in education over the past 20 years.
One of the problems South Africa faces is a lack of reading resources for many children around the country. To address this problem, I believe more needs to be done by us, the people who love reading, who understand its importance and want to share this with others.
World Book Day (WBD) on Saturday is a chance for us to do this. A quick Google search will bring up an array of activities and programmes around the country aimed at helping to get books to communities that need them.
The Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) initiative is an example of a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.
This year, to mark World Book Day, The SA Booksellers Association will strive to assist this campaign.
The SA Booksellers Association aims to promote a culture of reading and learning by supporting literary events and initiatives and by assisting its members to do the same.
This year, SA Booksellers Association members around South Africa – Exclusive Books, Bargain Books, Wordsworth and Books & Books – will celebrate WBD by having seven of the official WBD children’s’ books available in store for only R25. The initiative began last week and runs until April 30.
If you want to help, head to a participating bookshop near you, buy one (or more) of these books and donate to Nal’ibali by putting them in the donation bins at the counter in the store.
The WBD titles are:
Kipper’s Visitor by Mick Inkpen
Supertato, Hap-pea Ever After by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
Welcome to the World of Norm by Jonathan Meres
Star Wars, Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape by Cavan Scott
The Boy Who Could Do What He Liked by David Baddiel
Spot The Difference by Juno Dawson
Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
Exclusive Books and the SA Booksellers Association will also give 100 book tokens to children to exchange for one of the WBD books at Exclusive Books stores. This initiative will give the children the special experience of going into a book store and choosing and buying their very own book.