Current eBook Series: Short Vowel Shorts

Read Me, If You Can: The 9 Countries Where 54 Million Illiterate Young Women Live

By Tate Johnston on September 8, 2013 in Literacy, News

International Literacy Day 2013

Today, Sunday, September 8th is International Literacy Day! (Also observed by the International Reading Association on Monday, September 9th.)

I was going to write, “To celebrate, I’m doing 2 things.”

But as I read over UNESCO’s Literacy Day page, 9 countries picture on facebook and UNESCO’s Literacy Infographic (definitely check out the Infographic) which lists

  • THE 9 COUNTRIES where 54 million of the 76 million illiterate young women live, also noting that
  • 2/3 of illiterate young people are female
  • 250 million children of primary school age lack basic reading and writing skills, which will likely lead to
  • “poverty, inequality, and unstable poorly paid jobs,” and ultimately
  • “limited ability to contribute to the well-being of their families and communities.”

(For the list of the 9 countires: see bottom of post, Riomo Books fb post, UNESCO infographic or fb pic)

So, now I don’t feel so much like celebrating. What to do? Sometimes multiple choice helps in making a decision.  Should I:

  • A. Commiserate?
  • B. Consider and contrast the vast resources that I and my children have available to us in comparison?
  • C. Feel helpless in the face of what is certainly a complex and substantial global challenge?
  • D. None of the above.

Riomo Books is about growing Skills, Confidence and Enjoyment in reading. But what if these little books could help grow skills, confidence and enjoyment in the life of a little girl in India and a little boy in Tanzania? Then, I’d feel like celebrating. So, I’m going for D. None of the above, and for now, I’ll write:

Today is International Literacy Day!

To participate and help grow Skills, Confidence and Enjoyment in reading and in the life of a little girl in India and a little boy in Tanzania, I’m doing 3 things (the 2 things turned into 3 things):

  1. I’m making Fat Cat vs. Bad Bat free on the iBookstore and via Gumroad (pdf or epub). Download it.  Share it with a child, a teacher, a friend.
  2. I’m donating 100% of the funds I receive this week for Ish Fish & Jin Fin (Dedicated to Kids in Big Cities & Little Villages) to help kids have the opportunity to read, which will lead to more opportunities in life and a higher quality of life, which will ripple through into “the well-being of their families and communities.”
  3. I’m getting a little crazy. Read on.

Do you want to participate and help grow Skills, Confidence and Enjoyment, too?

A Pre-K teacher that read Fat Cat vs. Bad Bat said, “The world needs more short vowel books!”

I add: the world needs more participants! People who use their resources to give children not only the opportunity to read, but the opportunity to live a life of hope and impact. So let’s get a little crazy.

One of my favorite quotes is by Teddy Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Here’s an idea:

  1. This week, A. Give your unused books to a charity that wants them or a family who needs them OR B. Make a donation of any amount to the literacy/children’s charity of your choice.
  2. Send me an email, tweet, picture and/or link to where you’ve shared, posted, tweeted, etc. about how you’re participating in International Literacy Day. @t8johnston  #ILD #readmeifyoucan or or post on
  3. Little Crazy Part: I’ll send you all 5 Short Vowel Shorts for free: epubs or pdfs.


And together, let’s make D.: Participate in Turning the Tide Toward Global Literacy. Worldwide. Including the 9 countries where 54 million illiterate young women live:

  1. India
  2. Pakistan
  3. Nigeria
  4. Ethiopia
  5. Bangladesh
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  7. United Republic of Tanzania
  8. Egypt
  9. Burkina Faso

(Here are the links to UNESCO’s infographic and fb pic/graph again.)

[Image by Pratham Books]


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Tate JohnstonView all posts by Tate Johnston


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