Quality Reading Materials

A life-long love of reading starts with great children’s' books.

One of the greatest challenges to early adoption of the habit of reading in developing countries is a lack of high-quality, age-appropriate children's books in the local language. Room to Read responded to this need by going into the publishing business.

Room to Read’s local language children’s books are designed to engage readers on their terms. We publish a diverse range of storybooks that can be enjoyed by readers at various levels and are designed to capture students' imaginations. Our stories introduce concepts like basic vocabulary, simple math, and health issues, accompanied by beautiful illustrations that bring them to life.

Producing materials with a local content

For young readers, a connection to the familiar is essential. We scout and develop the talent of local authors and illustrators, who introduce concepts like simple math, personal health, family life and beginning vocabulary with a familiar backdrop that children will recognize from their own lives. Some stories are based on local folklore and traditions, while others are entirely original—created just for Room to Read. The stories speak to children's interests, allowing them to expand their minds, nourish their imaginations and explore worlds they never knew existed.

Award-winning storytelling

Local authors and illustrators ensure the content for each book Room to Read produces is both fun and culturally-relevant for young readers. All books are also produced in the countries where we work, supporting the local publishing industry.

Prior to publication, our manuscripts are often field-tested by our staff with local children to garner comments on plot, character development, language and general suitability for the target age group.

Our local language books have consistently been recognized over the years for their superior quality, having received several national book awards, industry praise and even the UNESCO 2011 Confucius Prize for Literacy.

Above: Lalchand the turban shop owner from, The Amazing World published by Room to Read in India.

Publication Languages in Africa
South Africa Afrikaans, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, SeSotho, Setswana, Siswati, TshiVenda, Xitsonga
Tanzania Kiswahili
Zambia Chinayanja, Chitongga
Publication Languages in Asia
Bangladesh Bengali
Cambodia Khmer
India Hindi, Telugu, Rajasthani, Garhwali, Bundelkhandi, Chhattisgarhi
Laos Lao
Nepal Nepali, Tharu
Sri Lanka Sinhala, Tamil
Vietnam Vietnamese

Battling an epidemic

An estimated 35 children die of HIV/AIDS-related causes every hour. Of those infected by the disease, a staggering nine of every 10 live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Helping children cope with the loss of family members and educating them about personal health and safety is vital to eradicating HIV/AIDS in the region. Room to Read's South African Local Language Books team has collaborated with a local author and women's collective organizer for a series of books about coping with HIV/AIDS designed especially for young readers.

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Books Published
Books Distributed
18 Million
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Documentary filmmakers travel to Room to Read projects across Asia and Africa to tell the stories of children who are benefitting from our programs.

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