I can’t remember how I first heard about an organization called Ethiopia Reads, but it was probably through the weekly updates we receive from Wide Horizons for Children. Ethiopia Reads is a great charity with a fantastic mission:
To create a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books. By planting libraries for children, creating culturally appropriate reading materials and training educators to nurture a love of books, Ethiopia Reads brings hope and educational skills to this generation of Ethiopians.
It would be hard to NOT get behind a mission like that, wouldn’t it? In an effort to promote literacy and education to Ethiopian children, Ethiopia Reads builds libraries, provides donkey libraries (I’m not kidding!) that take books around to remote areas, publishes books, and offers trainings to teachers and librarians.
Anyway, we first heard about this organization several months ago, and then maybe two months ago I read a great post by Kristine about an event she attended where Jane Kurtz, an author of children/young adult books (who grew up in Ethiopia), spoke about the challenging financial times Ethiopia Reads is facing right now. After reading the post, I decided I must buy a book or two from the organization right away.
Here’s what I picked out:
This book tells a traditional Ethiopian folktale of a bumbling boy who just can’t seem to do anything right. (There is a happy ending, though, of course.)
And this one is based on a story Jane Kurtz heard while growing up in Ethiopia. It tells the tale of a young boy who constantly gets in trouble, and follows him through a series of adventures.
One of the very cool things about these books is that they are written in both English and Amharic (one of the main languages in Ethiopia – there are many). Additionally, both offer glimpses at cultural details from Ethiopia. And, of course, I love that the stories are set in Ethiopia and that our child will be able to see images of people who look like him/her throughout the book.
The books have been sitting on my desk at home waiting for me to do this blog post for several weeks. Then Liz did a post last week that motivated me to write about Ethiopia Reads already! In addition to buying books through Ethiopia Reads or making donations directly to the organization, you can also support Ethiopia Reads by making certain purchases through Liz’s Barefoot Books marketplace. It’s another way to help out a great organization, and in the process you can pick up some wonderful books for your children. I’m quite certain that I’ll be purchasing some of these books when we get a bit closer to a referral!