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Room to Read launches author & illustrator advocate initiative in honor of International Literacy Day

September 08, 2020

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Room to Read Launches Author & Illustrator Advocate Initiative in Honor of International Literacy Day

  • Book content creators join Room to Read’s movement to celebrate the power of literacy to change the world 
  • Inaugural circle features bestselling novelists Alka Joshi and Christina Baker Kline 
  • Initiative aims to highlight the importance of diversityinclusion, and empathy in storytelling 


San Francisco – September 8, 2020 – Room to Read, a global organization focused on children’s literacy and girls’ education, announced today a new initiative to involve bestselling authors and widely recognized illustrators in activities that support Room to Read’s mission and promote the power of literacy and books to change the world. Room to Read's Author and Illustrator Advocates, a global network of book content creatorshave a shared passion for the power of storytelling to bring diverse experiences to life and bridge divides. In honor of International Literacy Day, Room to Read launched this initiative with two inaugural advocates — bestselling novelists Alka Joshi and Christina Baker Kline — who have committed to awareness-raising and fundraising initiatives for the organization. 

Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Alka Joshi has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She graduated from Stanford University and worked in the fields of advertising and PR before starting her own marketing consultancy. In 2011, she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of Arts in San Francisco, California. “The Henna Artist”, a Reese’s Book Club pick and New York Times bestseller is her first novel and is in series development with Miramax TV.  

“Through books, I’ve traveled to distant lands, met people who speak different languages, and celebrated lives different from my own, said Joshi. “It’s my heart’s desire for every child in this world to be able to do that. Through Room to Read, we’re working to help millions of people broaden their horizons.” 

A #1 New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including “The Exiles”“Orphan Train” and “A Piece of the World”, Christina Baker Kline is published in 40 countries. Her novels have been awarded the New England Prize for Fiction, the Maine Literary Award, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, among other accolades, and have been chosen by hundreds of communities, universities and schools as "One Book, One Read" selections. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, Psychology Today, Poets& Writers, and Salon, among other places. Born in England and raised in the American South and Maine, she lives in New York City and on Mount Desert Island in Maine. 

“Books are powerful tools that not only educate but serve as necessary reminders of our shared humanity, said Kline, “Room to Read is creating a world that is brighter and more just, as they ensure the next generation of young learners unlock their full potential. I am honored to support world change through educated children as a Room to Read Author Advocate.” 

Room to Read will be expanding the Author & Illustrator Advocate network throughout 2020 and beyonddeveloping content for its Book Club as well as integrating the Advocates into events, campaigns and programmatic activities in communities where Room to Read operates its programs such as capacity building workshops for local authors and illustrators and life skills sessions focused on gender equality. 


Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Readexpressed excitement about the future of the Author and Illustrator Advocate network: 

“As a publisher and distributor of children’s books in 42 languages, Room to Read has seen through its literacy programs that globally diverse books help children develop respect for themselves and pride in their identities, as well as empathy for experiences and cultures beyond their own. We are excited to formally partner with authors and illustrators and work with their publishers to build a more informed and compassionate world. We are committed to the quality education of young people everywhere and have designed this initiative to benefit future generations of readers and lifelong learners.” 


About Room to Read 

Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read is creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality. We are achieving this goal by helping children in low-income communities develop literacy skills and a habit of reading, and by supporting girls to build skills to succeed in school and negotiate key life decisions. We collaborate with governments and other partner organizations to deliver positive outcomes for children at scale. Room to Read has benefitted more than 18 million children across 16 countries and 39,000 communities and aims to reach 40 million children by 2025. Learn more at  


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Jacqueline Pezzillo