Room to Read, an international organization founded 20 years ago by two Americans with a mission of promoting literacy in Asia and Africa and also educating girls on both continents to succeed in school and in life, is launching its first project in the U.S.
The group aims to connect diverse writers and illustrators with publishing professionals who have editorial and design expertise to produce the Room to Read Peace & Equality Book Collection. The organization’s goal with this project is to create 10 digital picture books for children ages 3–8 by the end of December. The picture books will be published in a digital format on Room to Read’s free platform, Literacy Cloud. An official launch event is scheduled to take place in February 2021.
Each of the 10 picture books will bring together a writer, an illustrator, an editor, and an art director who will collaborate in creating a 24-page digital book on the theme of peace and equality. All 10 books will be created in what Room to Read editorial director and talent manager BrocheAroe Fabian, who is based in Wisconsin, describes as a “four-week virtual book sprint, combining the book development model of South Africa’s Book Dash and Room to Read’s long experience creating beautiful books in short project periods.”
The goal of the Room to Read book collection is, Fabian says, to “recognize the work that the United States, as a nation, must continue to do to create social, political, economic, and cultural systems grounded in peace and equality.”
While the deadline to apply for these paid positions has just passed for editors and designers, writers and illustrators from diverse backgrounds (both published and unpublished) still have time to apply; the deadline is October 12. “For the purposes of this project,” Room to Read’s application form notes, “diverse identities include ability, age, economic status, ethnicity, gender identity, immigrant status, race, sexual orientation, and veteran status.”