Everyone deserves to live a life free from poverty and a chance to thrive. Millions of people around the world don’t have enough money to pay for food, a house, comfortable beds to sleep in, clean water, access to medical care or schools.

There are many reasons why people are poor including unemployment, natural disasters, social and economic changes, and lack of access to basic services. Sustainable Development Goal 1, No Poverty aims to help people who are suffering and lack the means to prosper.

We encourage you to read these books and hope they will inspire you to take action and help us to make this world a better place for everyone.

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.

Special message from UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

Reading list

Serafina's Promise

Serafina’s Promise

This tale of one girl’s aspirations to be a doctor is a sad and unflinching depiction of poverty in Haiti but also an uplifting story about the power of love. Serafina both gives to and receives from her parents an understanding and fervent love. It’s this nucleus of her family which supports her through all hardships. This is a thoroughly engrossing piece of imagined reality, guaranteed to whet the appetite for more such literature. It is also saturated with warmth in its tales of friendship, experiences that buoy the narrator even as she watches a baby brother fade into nothingness, blighting her faith in humanity.

Author: Ann E. Burg | Illustrator: Sean Qualls | ISBN: 978-0545535670 | Publisher: Scholastic Press

Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street

A beautifully illustrated book that looks at material poverty through the eyes of a young boy who rides on a bus with his grandmother across town. As CJ points out the things that other people have that he doesn’t, his grandmother responds with a positive and hopeful answer to show the beauty of life’s simpler things, the wonderful people who they know and meet on their ride through the city, and how rich their lives already are.

Author: Matt de la Pena | Illustrator: Christian Robinson | ISBN: 978-0399257742 | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Reader

Last Stop on Market Street

A Chair For My Mother

This book describes the dedication in restoring and rebuilding your life after a devastating fire. The fear and uncertainty are real for so many people around the world living in poverty. This book gives hope and is the perfect example of giving to those in need. The little girl focuses on the important things in life and the importance of giving and doing something for others. This story also shows how three strong women overcome hardship and restore their lives.

Author: Vera B Williams | Illustrator: Vera B Williams | ISBN: 978-0688040741 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Last Stop on Market Street

The Happy Prince

High above a city stands a gilded statue of the Happy Prince and a swallow who both witness the suffering, injustice and poverty of the people below. At the behest of the Happy Prince, the swallow begins to strip the statue of its jewels and gold leaf to give to the city’s poor. A poignant story by Oscar Wilde about compassion, charity, and selflessness.

Author: Oscar Wilde | Illustrator: Maisie Paradise Shearring | ISBN: 978-0500651117 | Publisher: Thames & Hudson


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.


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.