African children’s books on sustainability and equality to be highlighted through latest SDG book Club

Six-year old Thobela Boyoyo is the most advanced reader in his class. © UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy

The new, multilingual initiative sees book sector organisations from across the African continent come together and commit to augmenting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Book Club with a collection of English, French, Arabic and Kiswahili books about the different goals for children.

The book club will launch on World Book Day (23 April 2021) and will feature quality African books that deal with the themes of the SDGs. Submissions are open now at and a selection committee formed by the different partners will pick a shortlist for each SDG. 

Samuel Kolawole, Chairman of the African Publishers Network (APNET) said: There is no doubt that good quality books at all levels can contribute immensely to the attainment of the SDGs all over the world by providing knowledge on the goals and what steps can be taken to attain them. For Africa, availability and access to such books that are indigenous to Africa and to which Africans can relate, will go a long way in ensuring that the continent of Africa makes good progress towards achieving the SDGs. That is why the efforts by all book stakeholders across the continent, in partnership with the UN, to organise an SDG Book Club for Africa deserves commendation and should be supported by all.

Olatoun Gabi-Williams, Founder of Borders Literature for all Nations said: It’s wonderful to know that children’s books published in Africa, with their strong SDG messages, will become a visible and colourful part of the global diversity of children’s books through this portal - the UN SDG Book Club African Chapter.

Lily Nyariki, Association for Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) said: This is a worthwhile initiative that will see Africa contributing to the world's knowledge through Children’s books while showcasing African publishers and authors internationally. ADEA congratulates all participating authors and publishers.

Mr Mandla Ntombela, President African Library & Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA) added: African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) wholly supports the African Chapter, SDG Book Club as there is no comparison to the value of information whether through story books or textbooks for the provision of insights that can catalyze minds to become powerful and resourceful in solving societal problems. Strengthening the pathways and possibilities of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through reading is a most welcome idea to African libraries.

Dr Wale Okediran, Secretary General, Pan African Writers' Association (PAWA) said: PAWA is happy to be part of this wonderful project through which African children can relate with SDG messages within the context of their immediate environment through books written and published by Africans.

Mr. Dare Oluwatuyi, President of the Booksellers Association of Nigeria (BAN) added: We are delighted to be part of this SDG Book Club project that in our view would deliver two, among other, wins. The first is a greater emphasis on the culture of reading and writing in Africa and the second, a more impactful grassroots communication of the laudable goals of the UN’s SDGs. We similarly encourage others to support it.

Anthea Basson, National Information Officer, UNIC (United Nations Information Centre) Windhoek: The SDG Book Club African Chapter unlocks the ambitions of the Sustainable Developments Goals through relatable stories which young children can be inspired by. The narrative in a children's book provides the perfect platform to create teachable moments and examples around the SDGs and the importance of taking action.  Reading is a fundamental skill upon which the acquisition of many other skills is based upon. What better way to explore the SDGs than through a book.

The African SDG Book Club follows the recent launches of clubs in Norway, Indonesia, Portugal and Brazil. The world’s publishing community through the IPA supports the SDGs as an investment in future generations of leaders, innovators and agents of change.

The founding partners for the African chapter of the book club are:

Organisations interested in joining the initiative are invited to contact:

About the SDG Book Club

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Book Club was launched at Bologna International Childrens Book Fair in 2019 and aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list of books from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.


About the SDGs

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by world leaders at the historic Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. Encompassing everything from health, to gender equality, and education, the Goals will mobilize efforts around the world to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.