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13 Books For International Literacy Day and More

September 8th is International Literacy Day, but like most other such important aspects of life, literacy is one that should be at the forefront every day! Don’t you agree? Like with many other celebrations, I bring to you books! Here are 13 books for International Literacy Day (done for this year already, but to be kept in mind and acted upon everyday of the year).

UNESCO defines literacy thus:

Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society. Generally, literacy also encompasses numeracy, the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations. The concept of literacy can be distinguished from measures to quantify it, such as the literacy rate and functional literacy. [source]

International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day is celebrated each year on 8 September, and was declared by UNESCO in October1966 at the 14th session of UNESCO’s General Conference. This year marks the 54th anniversary of this observance whose aim is to highlight the importance of literacy everywhere.

UNESCO is noting the impact of the pandemic on education around the world with this year’s theme for International Literacy Day, which is:

Literacy for a human-centred recovery – Narrowing the digital divide

As each of us very well know, COVID-19 has creeped (not really creeped, but continues to unfortunately storm) its way into the year 2021 and impacted the how, why, where, when, and what of learning. The first day I dropped my teenagers off at in-person school earlier this year was a moment of utter joy for me. No, not because I was finally glad to have them out of the house for a few hours, but simply – for their own sake.

While remote learning has its own advantages and has taught us a lot about how we can improve learning and teaching in general, there is of course the other side of the coin too. Not everyone has the necessary tools or even access to learn remotely; this meant that education took a back seat for so many who could not afford to do so. Many organizations around the world anted up and worked towards providing that access wherever they could but it is not enough. Each of us can do our bit to help reduce the inequalities that exist in providing education to all this Literacy Day, and every day.

Given the increase of e-learning, digital technology, and my own increased reading of e-books, it is imperative that we, as global citizens, help in enabling everyone to be able to learn. You can check out UNESCO’s website for more information on the same.

The Book List

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The Oldest Student

Title: The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
Author: Rita Lorraine Hubbard
Illustrator: Oge Mora
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biography (4 – 8 years)
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade(January 7th 2020)

I read this book during the Cybils readathon late last year as a judge for non-fiction books. A truly inspiring read! Check out my thoughts and more about this book in my earlier post here.

Checking UNESCO’s literacy related pages led me to the story of Gogo, who is easily another contender for being the Oldest Student! You can read Gogo’s story here.

Clarence’s Big Secret

Title: Clarence’s Big Secret
Author: Roy MacGregor, Christine MacGregor Cation
Illustrator: Mathilde Cinq-Mars
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Biography (4 – 8 years)
Publisher: Owlkids Books (March 15th 2020)

Another inspiring read that proves the adage that age is no barrier. I truly feel motivated to learn new things and encouraged to try out stuff I never might have after reading books like this one. Clarence’s story (a true one) will surely inspire one and all. Read my thoughts and more about the story here.

How to Read a Story

Title: How to Read a Story
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Mark Siegel
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction (5 – 8 years)
Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 5th 2015)

Kate Messner awes me – with her writing skills, the variety of books she writes, and well, with her writing skills! In an earlier post, I wonder how she does it all, and I still do!

This book is no different and will appeal to one and all – the very beginning reader who wants to learn how to read a story and those who want to reconfirm they are reading a story right!

I am a Story

Title: I Am a Story
Author/Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Libraries and Reading (4 – 8 years)
Publisher: HarperCollins (September 6, 2016)

A brilliant combination of beautiful art and perfect amount of text that tells the tale of storytelling across time and space! Perfectly executed…

A Child of Books

Title: A Child of Books
Authors: Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Art Fiction(3 – 8 years)
Publisher: Walker Books (Oct 3, 2019)

A book that floats upon imagination and takes readers on a most wondrous journey. This one is a book to be experienced, one you should dive into! I totally am enamored by the book.

Of course, I had to read this book when I saw the title and the blurb. I feel like I am a child of books too sometimes (My parents are among my favorite people in the world!)

Isabella: Star of the Story

Title: Isabella: Star of the Story
Author: Jennifer Fosberry
Illustrator: Mike Litwin
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Libraries & Reading(4 – 8 years)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (May 1, 2020)

Isabelle was a favorite in our home when my teens were littler!! And this book is no different. I still enjoy picking up one of the Isabella books and reading it. Discover just how much fun reading can be – pick up Isabella : Star of the Story now.

The Book No One Wants to Read 

Title: The Book No One Wants to Read
Author/Illustrator: Beth Bacon
Length: 176 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Libraries & Reading(6 – 10 years)
Publisher: HarperCollins (June 15, 2021)

Oh my! this book sure looks sad and makes me want to read it now! So I did! And it is so very a must-read:)

I recently heard the much-used term ‘fake it till you make it’ on radio (as recently as yesterday, I think). This book actually encourages readers to fake-read and continue to do so; and what do you know?! You find yourself actually reading pretty soon! Very cool concept and be not afraid of the 176 pages for this early reader book. It is all good, and loads of fun too!

Suggested Reading

Title: Suggested Reading
Author: Dave Connis
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Teen and YA Fiction (13 – 17 years)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; Reprint edition (September 29, 2020)

A book I am adding to my suggested reading list – for myself and others I know who love a good read! TBH, this is a TBR but will soon be moving to reviewed and loved from what I have previewed!

Here is a snippet from the book description for you: In this hilarious and thought-provoking contemporary teen standalone that’s perfect for fans of Moxie, a bookworm finds a way to fight back when her school bans dozens of classic and meaningful books.

The Reading List: A Novel 

Title: The Reading List: A Novel
Author: Sare Nisha Adams
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Asian American Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow (August 3, 2021)

Well, this book is a love letter to reading and to lists like the one it finds itself in today – a reading list! It shows how reading and a love for books can connect seemingly different people effortlessly. I chanced upon this book by accident, and so glad I did. It is now one of my ‘currently reading’ books and I am loving it so far!

How to Read a Book

Title: How to Read a Book
Author: Kwame Alexander
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Libraries and Reading (4 – 8 years)
Publisher: HarperCollins; Illustrated edition (June 18, 2019)

It is not hard to love a book, any book by Kwame Alexander; and this book is no different. Alexander’s delightful poetry combined with Sweet’s stunning art makes for an amazing book about, well, how to read a book, any book, starting with this book!

Reading Like a Writer

Title: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
Author: Francine Prose
Length: 273 pages
Genre: Editing/Writing Reference
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 10, 2007)

A book that has been on my to read list for too long; this month I make a solemn vow to read it!

Ban This Book: A Novel

Title: Ban This Book: A Novel
Author: Alan Gratz
Length: 256 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Libraries and Reading (9 – 12 years)
Publisher: Starscape; Reprint edition (May 1, 2018)

I do believe in the idea behind the celebration of Banned Books Week; to “emphasize that imposing information restraints on a free people is far more dangerous than any ideas that may be expressed in that information.” While I can certainly talk more about book banning, I will let this book do the talking for you. Another ‘currently reading’ book for me, this one is all about knowing you can stand up for what you believe in, regardless of everything else.

I Am a Book. I Am a Portal to the Universe

Title: I Am a Book. I Am a Portal to the Universe.
Authors: Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Book Design (All Ages!)
Publisher: Particular Books (April 1, 2021)

Such a cool concept! Full of color and information, this book is one of those unique books that will work well for all age groups. The littlest readers can enjoy the bright visuals that almost pop out of the page while older readers of all ages can appreciate both the data and its clever vivid presentation.

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And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of these books? Your thoughts? Do you have recommendations for similar reads? I would love to add them to my own reading list and to future such posts.

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