The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation

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Storytime in Asia

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Children everywhere are irresistibly drawn to the color and content of vibrant story books. But books that feed the imagination and inspire learning are beyond the reach of many children in developing Asia, home to 66 percent of the world's illiterate population. Books for Asia presents Storytime in Asia, a campaign that celebrates the transformative power of children's books by providing more than 120,000 books to 2 million students and 1,700 in-need schools across 17 countries in developing Asia.



Books for Asia's International Literacy Day festivities in 12 countries

Storytime in Asia concluded with International Literacy Day events in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and the United States. To honor the occasion, our wonderful staff throughout Asia organized a wide variety of fun reading and writing activities for children.

The Asia Foundation's Soudaline (Nat) Misaykonea leads a storytelling session in a remote school in Laos. Photo: Phoonsab Thevongsa

Check out our photos on Facebook.

For more information about the Washington, D.C. event, see the press release.

New video: The Impact of Storytime in Asia

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Teachers Making a Difference - India

Photo by Naresh Malhotra

September 4, 2012 — Vignesh Krishnan is a highly motivated Teach for India fellow at Gangotri Public School in New Delhi. A recent graduate from the University of Madras, Krishnan has found the experience very rewarding.

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Teachers Making a Difference - Indonesia

Photo by Anne Luntungan

September 3, 2012 — Dede Juwardi is a committed teacher at Tegal Jaya State Primary School 2 in a village in West Java, Indonesia. He is also manager of the school library which was recently set up with a small government grant that provided for shelves and workbooks.

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Teachers Making a Difference - Pakistan

Photo by Sara Farid

August 31, 2012 — Despite limited resources, teachers across Asia are determined to provide the best education possible to their students. Time and time again, Books for Asia is impressed by the dedication and ingenuity of the region’s educators, whether stationed in far-flung and remote locales or in crowded, inner-city schools. Over the next few days, we will highlight teachers we came across during Storytime in Asia who are making a difference.

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Books for Asia to celebrate International Literacy Day in ten countries

Next week, Books for Asia will honor the progress Asian countries have made in improving literacy with International Literacy Day events across the region, from storytelling sessions and writing competitions to teacher training workshops. These celebrations are hosted jointly by Asia Foundation offices and local partners in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. In addition, Books for Asia will host an event in conjunction with the Association of American Publishers in Washington, DC.

Despite recent gains in literacy, Asia is home to 66% of the world’s illiterate population with more than 500 million people who cannot read or write. Colorful books that feed curiosity and the imagination are essential to inspire learning. To help get books to eager young minds, see how you can help.

Storytime in India

Photo by Naresh Maholtra

August 27, 2012 — Excited students read Penguin donation, Llama, Llama Home with Mama, at Gangotri Public School.

Gangotri Public School is located in Seelampur, Delhi, a community with one of the poorest literacy levels in the country. About 65% of the students are first-generation learners. Most of their parents run small tea stalls, vegetable carts, or tailoring shops, earn a daily wage at construction sites, or hold entry-level jobs. They find it very difficult to afford books for their kids.

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Storytime in Malaysia

Photo by Amir Shariff

August 24, 2012 — Taman Ceupecs National School in Malaysia has 820 students and 60 teachers. The school is in near one of the largest police academies in Kuala Lumpur and most of the students are children of these service men and women.

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Scholastic's global literacy campaign

“We believe that in the 21st century, the ability to read is necessary not only to succeed but to survive – for the ability to understand information and the power of stories is the key to a life of purpose and meaning.”

This entry from Scholastic’s Reading Bill of Rights sums up Books for Asia’s belief in the power of books just perfectly.

Scholastic’s Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life. global literacy campaign includes eight “beliefs” that affirm every child’s right to read and what that means in the 21st century, from access to books and great stories to the ability to analyze, interpret and understand information in the digital age.

Books for Asia is proud to be a partner in Scholastic’s global literacy campaign.

Storytime in Asia "liked" by publishing and social media

We’re thrilled by the support from leaders in the publishing industry. Publishers Weekly today ran a story entitled Storytime in Asia: Quality Picture Books for Developing Countries.” Meanwhile, the Children’s Book Council included a notice in their newsletter about the campaign and Scholastic featured it on their OOM blog. Storytime in Asia is also gaining great momentum in social media, with the photos receiving hundreds of likes and shares on Facebook.

Author Grace Lin supports Storytime in Asia

Grace Line Supports Storytime in Asia

August 23, 2012 — Check out this special illustration by Newberry Honor awardee and bestselling author Grace Lin! Her publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, is generously donating copies of Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! to the campaign.

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Storytime in the Philippines

Photo by Mario Ignacio IV

August 20, 2012 — Students at Lakeside Integrated School in Laguna, Philippines, are playfully engrossed in one of the many books donated by Scholastic. Since the cost of new books is too high for parents who work as teachers, government employees, or office workers, most students do not have reading material at home.

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Storytime in Thailand

Photo by Arpaporn Winijkulchai

August 17, 2012 — Students at Wat Thatthong School in Bangkok enjoy The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle, a book donated by Penguin Young Readers Group.

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Author Todd Parr supports Storytime in Asia

Beloved children’s book author Todd Parr gives the campaign a fabulous plug! Copies of Reading Makes You Feel Good and You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together will be donated to the campaign by his publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Storytime in Asia is off to a good start!

We’ve received a great response to Storytime in Asia so far! Singapore Book Council featured the campaign on their blog. And the campaign press release was immediately picked up by 108 news outlets, including Yahoo! News, Newsday, The International Business Times, The Boston Globe , The San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, CBS 5 San Francisco, and The Sacramento Bee.

Scholastic Inc. kicks off Storytime in Asia campaign with 100,000 books

We are pleased to announce that Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, is donating 100,000 books to the campaign! A long-time supporter of global literacy, as demonstrated by its Read Every Day, Lead a Better Life campaign, Scholastic’s lead donation of 100,000 books marks its first-ever direct donation to Books for Asia and includes iconic books such as Clifford the Big Red Dog&#174, The Magic School Bus&#174, and Goosebumps&#174.

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Every child deserves inspiring storybooks

Storytime in Asia - Bangladesh

August 13, 2012 — The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program today launches Storytime in Asia, a month-long campaign that celebrates the transformative power of children’s books. Through behind-the-scenes photos and videos, we’ll be showing the impact of beautifully crafted storybooks on students whose schools and families cannot afford high-quality reading material. Storytime in Asia will honor International Literacy Day with special literacy-promoting events throughout Asia during the last week of the campaign, August 31 to September 8.

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Storytime in Asia Sponsorship

Your organization or business can play a vital role in supporting this exciting initiative. For more information, click here or contact Daniel Stokes at

Books for Asia recognizes its Storytime in Asia partners:

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