Inclusive bookshelves for all children with Worldreader

by Lantana Publishing on September 11, 2020

Our intern Abi Harindra shares more about our partnership with Worldreader, a global non-profit providing millions of children in under-served communities with access to eBooks and transforming their lives through the power of reading.

‘Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, more than parents’ educational background or their income.’
– The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

12-year-old Stanley from Tweapease Presby Primary School in Ghana didn’t have access to books to read before being given an e-reader. Thanks to Worldreader, he is able to get one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming a Member of Parliament and changing things for the better in his community.

At Lantana, our dream is for every child to have access to an inclusive bookshelf. UNESCO reports that nationwide school closures have impacted 60% of the world’s student population, so when Worldreader reached out to us during lockdown, we saw this as a vital opportunity to extend access to our books to the widest possible range of children and help them continue reading throughout the crisis.

We are extremely proud to have partnered with Worldreader to contribute 12 of our children’s books to their digital library. Worldreader is a global non-profit organisation founded in 2010 that provides under-served communities across the global south with access to eBooks.

Worldreader shares our belief in the power of reading to educate, inspire and empower children, as well as the importance of providing stories which tackle social issues and to which young readers can relate.

Worldreader’s digital library contains over 12,000 books in 52 different languages and has reached over 15 million young readers in Africa, the Middle East, India, and Latin America. In these areas, the educational exclusion rates are the highest in the world and the literacy rates are among the lowest. Studies have shown a clear correlation between illiteracy and poverty, high infant mortality rates and high maternal mortality rates. By championing digital reading in communities where access to books is limited, Worldreader gives children the opportunity to significantly improve their quality of life and future prospects, as well as fighting against the cycle of poverty and promoting gender equality.

Learning in Lockdown

Digital reading solutions are more important than ever since COVID-19 has disrupted children’s education, with children from the global south likely to bear the brunt of the crisis. In response to the 1.6 billion children who could not attend school during the pandemic, Worldreader accelerated the release of ‘BookSmart’, its new app containing hundreds of free children’s books, which is also available in the UK and the US. They have raised over $500,000 to reach over 150,000 new young readers to enable their education to continue during the pandemic.

Worldreader’s extensive library features collections that educate children about gender inequality, the environment and now COVID-19. Their recently curated collection of coronavirus-themed books includes Coronavirus: A Book for Children, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, best known for The Gruffalo. The collection features stories about coping during the pandemic, dealing with boredom and loneliness in lockdown, and the importance of handwashing.

Let’s get reading

Worldreader has a number of initiatives designed to instil reading habits in young people, encourage parents to read to their children, implement e-reading programmes in schools, bring local language books to libraries to enable children to learn in their mother-tongue, and provide training and equipment to public libraries.

As an example of their impact, 15 million children in the Middle East and North Africa are out of school, but since partnering with six national Jordanian organisations in 2017, Worldreader’s Tuta Tuta project has provided thousands of children and families affected by the Syrian refugee crisis with digital books.

Emma, a teacher in a primary school in the heart of a slum in Kibera, Kenya, has seen the benefits of using the Kindle in classes: “When I joined the school, no one would use the library. I was determined to start a reading culture. When the e-readers came in, everyone wanted to use them so more children started coming to the library. Now every evening the library in the school is full.”

We are delighted to have partnered with this innovative organisation and to contribute 12 of our inclusive children’s eBooks to Worldreader’s collection. These are now available for free through Worldreader’s BookSmart app.

Thank you, Abi! Learn more about Worldreader and how to get involved when you visit their website, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Click HERE to take a look at our current titles. For every print book purchased, we donate a book to children who need them via our charity partners.


Abi Harindra joins us as a Publishing & Research intern, through the Micro-Internship programme of the Oxford Foundry. She has recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a Law degree. Abi is passionate about advocating for equality and representation, and is currently working with Empower Her* Voice, an organisation working to promote girls’ education and empowerment.


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