March Book of the Month

Drum roll, please…as we unveil our March book (or rather, books) of the month!

Books in the series

Books in the Siyagruva series

Siyagruva, a series of novels for South African teens, generously donated by New Africa Books of South Africa.

Books on African topics or set in African countries are highly prized here at Book Aid International, being frequently requested by our partners. Such books can be difficult for us to source from UK publishers, so we were delighted to receive a recent donation of 620 books from New Africa Books. Included in this donation were several copies of these novels for teens, featuring a group of friends from diverse backgrounds in Cape Town.

“Siyagruva” (meaning “We are Grooving”)  is the name of the dance studio where the friends meet and share their adventures. In Divine Dump Dancer, Mncedisi and his mother are forced to glean a living from rubbish dumps after losing his father to AIDS, but his talent for dancing brings new opportunities. In No Problem, Man! Thabiso comes to terms with life in a wheelchair following an accident, but won’t let it stop him dancing: “My favourite dancing partner is my wheelie!”

In other stories the “Siyagruvers” travel to Namibia, Mozambique and the United States. Along the way they encounter prejudice, gang culture, and hostile authorities, but nothing keeps them down for long.

We are sending the Siyagruvers to our new Children’s Corners in six public libraries run by the Zambia Library Service and hope that teenage library users in Zambia will enjoy these stories.

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Celebrating in style – how Piggott School made a difference on World Book Day 2015

Every year, we are delighted by the amazing (and creative) efforts that people go to to raise funds for us on World Book Day. This year, staff and pupils at Piggott School in Wargrave made an extra special effort to make it a World Book Day to remember. We’ll hand over to Sarah Seddon, the Librarian at the school to tell us more…

This was my first year of organising activities for World Book Day at Piggott School, and I have been encouraged by the enthusiasm expressed both by staff and pupils from all subject areas and year groups.

Our main focus for the day was the dressing up as book characters. I always think this puts everyone into the right frame of mind for the day; put a funny costume on and you immediately feel a bit festive and are ready for a special day. English teachers chose to come as Wallys and Wendas from Where’s Wally? I love dressing up and try to do something different each time, so this time I came as The Cat in the Hat. Dr Seuss has always been one of my favourite children’s authors, and I read The Cat in the Hat as a child as well as sharing it with numerous children over the years.

The Cat in the Hat

Staff dress up as favourite characters on World Book Day

We also held a competition for staff members to decorate their classroom doors to show what they were reading at the time. There were some really creative doors, which staff had obviously spent a considerable amount of time to put together. It is always encouraging to see how much staff throughout the school value reading.

Book-themed doors

Teachers decorated their classroom doors to reflect their favourite books

The day started with the whole school reading during morning registration. During the morning classes from Year Seven and Nine came into the library for special activities as part of their English lessons. We had sessions on researching Shakespeare, creating posters from Shakespearean insults and a performance poetry session.

Book-themed door

Can you guess what book this door represents?

World Book Day is supported by Book Aid International, who send new books to other countries, including sub-Saharan Africa, where children do not usually have access to them. Pupils and staff had the opportunity to watch a slide-show presentation about Book Aid International and our donations for dressing up were all in aid of the charity. At break time we had a cake sale, with cakes kindly provided by pupils and staff. Break time was also made more interesting by the arrival of reporters from The Henley Standard and The Twyford Advertiser who took some group photos of book characters outside the library.


There’s nothing like a cake sale to raise our spirits!

All in all, we had a very successful, fun day to remember. I had an amusing end to the day by doing my Waitrose shop still in costume, which started up quite a few interesting conversations with both staff and customers!

In total, the Piggott School raised £359.91 for Book Aid International. This means we can send even more beautiful, brand new books to libraries in sub-Saharan Africa. We’d like to say a huge thank you to staff, parents and pupils who made such a difference for others on World Book Day.

If you enjoyed your own World Book Day celebrations involving fundraising for us please send your stories and pictures to



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Award winners get in touch

Here at Book Aid International, we love hearing from libraries and readers who have benefited from our books so we were delighted to receive a letter from the National Museums of Kenya Library.

Maktaba Banner compressed

The library was one of the winners of the Maktaba Library of the Year Awards 2014, which Book Aid International co-sponsored by donating 200 books to each of the top three winning libraries in each of the seven categories. You can read our post about the awards here.

Book of the Month October

Copies of the Dewey Decimal Classification Schedules (DDC) 23, our October 2014 Book of the Month, copies of which were sent to National Museums of Kenya Library as part of their prize

The National Museums of Kenya Library which was one of three winners in the Special Libraries category writes ‘The publications will be very useful to National Museums of Kenya researchers, educators, students from public universities and the general public. The donation also included print and audio books for children and we trust that these books will increase library usage by junior patrons who may wish to become researchers in future.’

We’re delighted to hear that our books have been so well received and will be of much use to the National Museums of Kenya Library’s patrons!

If you are a library or individual who has benefited from our books or projects, we’d love to hear from you

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NEWS RELEASE: Book Aid International’s School Library project shortlisted for a London Book Fair International Excellence Award

19th March 2015

School library in a box

Book Aid International’s ‘School Library in a Box’ project has been shortlisted for a London Book Fair International Excellence Award, it was announced today. The project, which delivers portable libraries to remote schools in Tanzania, has been recognised by the London Book Fair’s award scheme in the International Education Initiative category.

‘School Library in a Box’ operates in the Zanzibar Archipelago and in the Kagera region of mainland Tanzania and is run through a partnership with the Zanzibar Library Service and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). It is targeted to reach schools with no space or resource for a permanent library room or building. Each school receives 350 books in English and the same in Kiswahili, as well as teacher training for two members of staff, which is delivered by a VSO education specialist in Tanzania.

The scheme also encourages student librarians, who learn to look after the portable library and learn basic librarianship skills. Since its inception, the project has provided 99 schools with book boxes and training, benefiting around 57,000 children in isolated communities and training over 200 teachers.

Alison Hubert, Director of Book Aid International said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for an LBF Excellence Award in the International Education Initiatives category. Our School Library in a Box project, which we deliver in partnership with Zanzibar Library Service and VSO, has so far provided almost 100 portable libraries to schools in remote and isolated communities which could not otherwise provide a library service for their students. The combination of book provision and teacher-librarian training means that we have started to build a reading culture in areas where many children had no previous access to books.

“At Book Aid International, we believe in the power of books to change lives, and this is a practical example of how innovative ideas can meet the individual challenges experienced in the countries where we work.”

A school teacher on Pemba island in the Zanzibar archipelago said: “The library in a box project has been a saviour as the school did not have books before. Children are starting to build a reading culture through borrowing books.”

The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony at the London Book Fair, which takes place on 14th April.



For further information and comment please contact Jessica Faulkner, Head of Communications at Book Aid International.


t: 020 7326 5800

m: 07812 800 294

Book Aid International

Book Aid International works in partnership with libraries in Africa, providing new books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish. The charity’s vision is of vibrant libraries that inspire readers and empower communities.






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Books, cakes and balancing acts!

Here at Book Aid International we never cease to be amazed – and delighted – by the passion of our supporters and the tireless energy and creativity that goes into their fundraising efforts.

We’ve recently been wowed by the ingenuity of one of our young supporters, Eliza Mardon, 8. In January, she took it upon herself to organise a fundraising day at her school in aid of Book Aid International, enlisting the help of her Headmaster as well as her friends.

Eliza and friend foe web

Eliza and one of her friends proudly present one of the competitions Eliza ran on her fundraising stall

Eliza told us: “My name is Eliza and my favourite authors are David Walliams and Enid Blyton. I know I am lucky to have so many books at home and in my library at school so I wanted to help a charity that would help more children to enjoy the books that I do.

In assembly the day before my stall, my Headmaster themed the whole assembly around books. He showed a brilliant film about Book Aid International with stories of children in Africa who have benefited from new libraries and books.

Eliza 3 for web

Eliza with a book cake (made by her friend Lana’s mum) which pupils had to guess the weight of to win a prize

The following day, my fundraising stall came to life. My friends helped me and we ran six games which included balancing a book on your head and guessing the weight of a book cake. We had a lot of fun!

All together we raised £132 which means another 65 books will be able to be chosen, packed and sent to people who need them and who will love them as much as we do.”

A big thank you to Eliza and her friends from us at Book Aid International and all our partners in sub-Saharan Africa! If you have a great fundraising idea like Eliza, we’d love to hear from you

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