The National Book Foundation Announces the Winners of its Annual Innovations in Reading Prize
The Uprise Books Project
The Uprise Books Project was founded in 2011 with a very simple mission: to encourage underprivileged teens to read by providing them with new banned and challenged books.
Why banned and challenged books? There are a couple of big hurdles when it comes to getting teens to read. Simply getting kids access to books is the first step, but just giving teens books isn't enough. Between family obligations, below-standard reading skills, and an environment that discourages anything close to intellectual activities, many disadvantaged teens need a better reason to read than simply being told "it's good for you."
The folks at Uprise believe that the "forbidden fruit" angle could provide that motivation. Anyone who's ever been a teenager knows that one of the best ways to pique their curiosity about something is to tell them they aren't allowed to know about it, so why not use that trait for good? Judging by the feedback Uprise has received after giving books to a few hundred teens, they think they just might be onto something.
Worldreader is a nonprofit created in 2010 by David Risher (former Amazon.com executive) and Colin McElwee (former ESADE Business School's marketing director) whose mission is to make digital books (via e-readers and mobile phones) available to children and their families in the developing world. Worldreader combines new technologies, the mobile phone networks, and declining costs to provide immediate access to hundreds of thousands of local textbooks, storybooks, and international literature.
Via its e-reader programs, Worldreader has delivered over 480,000 e-books, impacting nearly 10,000 children and families in six sub-Saharan African countries. In addition, through Worldreader Mobile--book application--more than half a million people globally are reading a wide variety of books, from educational material to children's books, all on a device they already own--their mobile phone. Worldreader partners with African publishers to make their books available to children in the e-reader programs, and to everyone through Worldreader Mobile. At the same time, Worldreader's international publishing partners make their books available at no cost, exposing children and families everywhere to some of the best-known literature in the world.
Innovations in Reading is supported by a generous grant from Levenger.
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The Mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.
The 64th National Book Awards will take place on November 20, 2013.