Last year on this day I marvelled that there were five birthdays to celebrate on International Literacy Day and yet since then I have learned of two more.
Jeanie Adams is an indigenous Australian author who has published many books for Australian children that help them to see Aboriginal children in their natural family context. My favourite of her books, Pigs and Honey is set in Cape York, the very north of Queensland and it tells about Aboriginal hunting and a picnic in the bush. A young boy describes the weekend he enjoyed with his extended family.
Michael Hague is an American illustrator who has illustrated many of the classics, especially those dealing with fantasy. His illustrations are very realistic but intricately detailed and he chooses rich colours. When you look at his artwork on his website you feel so close to the detail and the characters. I particularly like his fairies.
International Literacy Day continues to be important because according to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration on the day because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world.Statements like this make it all the more important to contribute to Room to Read's Girls' Education Program.