IBBY-Yamada 2020: South Africa

IBBY South Africa: Creating new African children’s books – Pan-African Book Dash

Book-ownership among South African children is very low and has led to equally low child literacy levels throughout school and into adulthood. Book Dash is a non-profit publishing organisation that creates new open-licensed African storybooks that are affordable and of a high quality. The aim of the Pan-African Book Dash project was to provide approximately 40 creatives from across the African continent (writers, illustrators, editors and designers) with the opportunity to collaborate on new African children’s books. Due to the pandemic, the project was delayed and held as a virtual event on 15 May 2021. The participants, creative volunteers from 8 countries across Africa (10 writers, 10 illustrators, 10 editors and 10 designers) were briefed in the week leading up to the event. Together with a team of six Book Dash facilitators they created a book within twelve hours (9am to 9pm): a flat plan (blueprint) for each double-page spread was created followed by drawings by the illustrators, while the writers refined the storyline. The final books, with varied themes and illustration styles, were presented to the rest of the group at the end of the day. Each title was translated into one other South African language and then all the books were printed and published on the Book Dash website.

Read the final report here.