GOAL 4 – QUALITY EDUCATION

Many countries made great progress in providing quality education for their primary school chidren, in developing countries it has reached 91%. But there are still 57 million primary age children remaining out of school, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa or in countries with ongoing conflicts. Poor education can be due to lack of trained teachers, poor conditions of schools without electricity and running water, dangerous commutes to school or a family’s lack of money to afford children’s education.

Education is also important to help us achieve many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). How? Let’s look at some examples: When we get quality education we can more easily get ourselves out of poverty by finding a job that pays well. Education also helps to us to make better choices for our health, like eating more vegetables or drinking less sugary beverages. In countries where all children can go to school, boys and girls enjoy an equal place in society and the same rights.

Our new reading lists cover many of these topics and we hope the stories will inspire you to take action for all children to get quality education.

The SDG Book Club makes content available in the six official languages of the United Nations – please see our other pages for more recommendations in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

On the importance of reading

Reading list

Serafina's Promise

Razia’s Ray of Hope

Razia and her family live in a small village in Afghanistan where a new school for girl’s is being built. Razia is very excited about the chance to learn but it will take all her courage and confidence to convince her family they will gain much from her education as well. A hopeful story about one girl’s persistent fight for her right to education and a story that clearly shows how much contribution an educated person can bring to their communities.

Author: Elizabeth Suneby | Illustrator: Suana Verelst | ISBN: 978-1554538164 | Publisher: Kids Can Press

Last Stop on Market Street

Rain School

Captures the excitement of children starting school for the first time and wondering what it will be like. In this particular setting in Chad, the children and the teachers create a temporary school building each year which lasts for the nine months between the long rains. The message is one of collaboration, problem solving and hope with enthusiastic valuing of an education at its core.

Author: James Rumford | Illustrator: James Rumford  | ISBN: 978-0547243078 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Last Stop on Market Street

When I was Eight

Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. Ignoring her father’s warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders’ school to learn. The nuns at the school call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do menial chores, but she remains undaunted. Her tenacity draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But the young girl is more determined than ever to learn how to read.

Author: Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton Jury| Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard | ISBN: 978-1554514908 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Reading is a great way to better understand what people from across the globe struggle with in their everyday lives, and it helps us reflect on our own situation. But reading is just the first step: now it’s time to share your book club experiences and how you plan to take action. Each month, we will feature a couple of book clubs on our blog, so get ready to share your story through social media, by using #SDGBookClub and tagging @UNPublications.

Resources

We encourage you to host book club meetings around the world and share your photos via hashtag #SDGBookClub. If you would like to organize a public book club meeting, we recommend contacting your local book store, library or school and set it up with them. Please share the planned event on social media using #SDGBookClub and we will add it to the list of events. Click the button below to download our tips to organize a successful event!

How to organize your own book club

Help us spread the word by downloading our promotional materials. You will find a horizontal banner, bookmark, placard and easy-to-print sign-up sheet for your friends, family and community to join the SDG Book Club!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The SDG Book Club 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 ofbooks from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

A selection committee works together to make the final selection for each of the 17 SDGs, in all six official UN languages —Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The selection committee consists of members from the United Nations, International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Librarian Associations (IFLA), European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBA), International Authors Forum (IAF), and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Fiction, non-fiction, and other genres that our panel thinks will help educate children about SDGs will be considered.

The reading list is meant for children ages 6-12. However, we encourage parents, educators, and everyone who is interested to read the selected books and help children understand the importance of the SDGs.

The reading list will be published during the first week of every month for 17 months, starting with Goal 1: No Poverty in April 2019 and culminating with Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals in September 2020 for the 5th anniversary of the SDGs.

Yes. Sign up on our homepage to get a monthly email on news and updates. Your privacy is important to us so we would never share your information with third parties or spam your inbox.

No. We do not intend to sell or promote the sale of the books featured in the reading list. If you chose to, you can buy the books online, wherever books are sold, or get a copy at your local bookstore or library.

You can post your thoughts and images on social media using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. Please tag/follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, there are book club meetings taking place all over the world. Check back for a link to the list! (Coming soon)

People can host book club meetings around the world and share their photos via #SDGBookClub. If you would like to organize a public book club meeting, we recommend contacting your local book store, library or school and set it up with them. Please share the planned event on social media using #SDGBookClub and we will add it to the list of events.

You can post feedback on our Facebook page or write an email to: publications@un.org.

We sincerely appreciate your interest. However, we are not currently accepting recommendations.

There are actions that you can take beyond just reading the books.

A/ Help your kids to create a poster with a photo or drawing and interesting facts about their favourite character(s) of the book.

B/ Design a reading scavenger hunt for kids using drawings and pictures instead of questions and help them search for things mentioned in the book.

C/ Help your kids write a letter to the local government representative and tell them what you learned in the book and ask them what action(s) they are taking toward a specific Goal.

D/ Organize a parent-child facilitated book discussion for younger kids. Invite your child’s friends and their parents to discuss a book from the reading list at your local library or children’s book store.

E/ Spread the word on social media, using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. We’d love to feature your pictures/videos on our social media.

You can find plenty of Student Resources here. You will find other books aimed at children, as well as the SDG board game. The game aims to help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals in a child-friendly and straightforward way.

Read to a Child campaign: A global campaign on reading to children to encourage literacy and global citizenship, incorporating the priorities youth and quality education. It is planned to take place in September 2020. More information to come. Please sign up to stay informed.

Organizers

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is a federation of publishing associations from around the world. The main mandate of the IPA is to promote and defend copyright, support the freedom to publish, promote literacy and reading. IPA is an accredited NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. IPA supports the SDGs and works particularly closely with WIPO and UNESCO.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in 1927 in Edinburgh, Scotland at an international conference, we celebrated our 90th birthday in 2017. We now have more than 1,300 Members in nearly 150 countries around the world. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in 1971.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the  world who are committed to bringing books and children together. Today IBBY comprises 79 National Sections worldwide.

The European & International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) represents national booksellers associations in the European Union and beyond. EIBF Members in turn have in membership booksellers of all kinds: brick and mortar bookshops, online bookshops, independents, chains.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) is the most important international trade fair of the children’s publishing industry. With over 50 years of experience, BCBF has succeeded in bringing together a unique and diverse global audience: the result is the world’s premium copyright business hub when it comes to publishing with an extra core that extends to all multi-media content for children.