The United Nations (UN) has announced plans to launch an Africa-focused Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Book Club, for African children between ages 6 and 12 that “will feature quality African books that deal with the themes of the SDGs.” The books will come in a collection of languages: English, French, Arabic, and Kiswahili. The book club will be launched on World Book Day: 23 April 2021.
Africa Renewal reports that the proposed book club “follows the recent launches of clubs in Norway, Indonesia, Portugal and Brazil.” At the book clubs, children are exposed to a “curated reading list of books from around the world . . . in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.”
The UN’s 17 SDGs were announced in September 2015. They are meant to eradicate, by 2030, poverty, protect the earth, and ensure peace and prosperity for everyone. Built on the principle of “leaving no one behind,” the goals include zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, and gender equality.
For the African chapter of the SDG Book Club, the UN will collaborate with book sector organizations from across the African continent. These partners are Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA), Pan African Booksellers Association (PABA), Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), African Publishers Network (APNET), African Library & Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA), Borders Literature for All Nations, and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek.
“There is no doubt that good quality books at all levels can contribute immensely to the attainment of the SDGs all over the world by providing knowledge on the goals and what steps can be taken to attain them,” said APNET chair Samuel Kolawole.
“For Africa, availability and access to such books that are indigenous to Africa and to which Africans can relate will go a long way in ensuring that the continent of Africa makes good progress towards achieving the SDGs,” Kolawole continued. “That is why the efforts by all book stakeholders across the continent, in partnership with the UN, to [organize] an SDG Book Club for Africa deserves commendation and should be supported by all.”
Writers, publishers, and readers who know or have books for children between ages 6 and 12, that fit any of the 17 SDGs, are encouraged to fill this form. A selection committee comprising the different partners will pick a shortlist for each SDG.