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Sharing a book at a school in Zanzibar

The magic of reading

Two fantastic animations about our work and the magic of reading have been launched thanks to Kingston Smith’s Creative Vision Award. The first is below: 

We asked our East Africa Project Officer and professional children’s librarian Caroline Kayoro to watch the film. In this blog she reflects on why, from her experience, introducing the magic of reading to children in sub-Saharan Africa is so important.




“Most children in Africa spend their leisure time out in the field playing children’s games. Few of them own toys and some do not have access to television or electricity. They also hardly travel. So for many children, their only exposure to the outside world is through books.


Playing outside in Uganda
Few children have toys at home so they play outside in their spare time


Reading exposes them to a whole new world beyond their local environments. It broadens their horizons, introducing them to different cultures and viewpoints. Also, in a home where there are no toys, books can provide a mind-engaging leisure activity for children.


Ugandan school
Often the only books children have access to are curriculum books

Often, the only books children have access to are curriculum books in school and they associate these with exams and therefore do not find joy in reading them. So they love reading other books. They aren’t under any pressure so they are able to enjoy reading them and escape to another world from the challenges they may be facing.


Reading books in a school in Uganda
Books not related to schoolwork can help children develop a love of reading


In addition, as children read for pleasure they also improve in their classwork. Reading teaches them to think and reason on a wide range of topics at an early age. They also learn to express themselves confidently using appropriate language.


Kakuma friends
Reading about other students who overcame great challenges motivates these girls in Kakuma Refugee Camp


Through reading, children are able to imagine different possibilities in the world. Books can provide them with examples of people who have made it in different professions from humble backgrounds. Such books inspire children from disadvantaged areas and communities to have hope and to dream.

Children who read will grow to become useful people in the society. They will be able to drive innovation and creativity and provide home grown solutions to many problems facing the continent.”


We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who makes the Creative Vision Awards possible for this wonderful animation.