Let’s Read


Asia Foundation Launches Modern Reading Challenge in Indonesia

Jakarta, June 26, 2019


We know that a child’s passion for reading better predicts their academic success than their family’s socioeconomic status. Children who develop a love of reading are more likely to read better, write better, build their vocabulary, and comprehend more in their reading. Sharing books in a household and talking with children about these stories… Read more


Asia Foundation’s Kyung-sook Lee Featured on Korean Multicultural TV

June 26, 2019

Media Coverage

Multicultural TV (다문화), a Korea-based news channel, features The Asia Foundation’s Kyung-sook Lee in an interview on Books for Asia’s Let’s Read Book Concert held on June 17 in Seoul.


Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read Digital Library Expands with Seoul Book Concert

Seoul, June 20, 2019


On June 17th, the Let’s Read E-Book Concert at the Seoul Global Cultural Center celebrated the publication of new multicultural stories for children that promote reading and sharing of cultures. The Book Concert is part of a larger project supported by the MoneyGram Foundation, Seoul Metropolitan Government, and The Asia Foundation that included ch… Read more


The High-Tech Jobs of Tomorrow Depend on Children’s Books Today

June 19, 2019


The most valuable skills children can gain in school are not specific to jobs or technology, but rather skills associated with creative problem-solving and curiosity. Words like “fun” and “children’s storybooks” are not often used when discussing how to prepare today’s youth for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow, but they need to be. The most valuable… Read more


Let’s Read

May 28, 2019


To develop a love of reading, children need books in their own language with characters, themes, and settings that reflect their lives. Let’s Read is a new initiative that draws on The Asia Foundation’s deep expertise and networks in communities across Asia to cultivate the skills of local authors and illustrators while building Asia’s only free di… Read more


The Book Effect

April 24, 2019


At this moment, news feeds are flooded with stories of disparity and division. On the heels of the “varsity blues” college admissions scandal, we are reminded that the gap between privileged and disadvantaged children is wider than ever. Tension between cultures is mounting, and the global cooperation of nations is at an all-time low. These realiti… Read more


The Book Effect Revealed in Thomson Reuters Op-Ed

April 19, 2019

Media Coverage

Thomson Reuters Foundation News publishes an opinion piece written by Books for Asia program specialist Morgan Belveal on The Book Effect. Here’s the truth: Despite all we know about privilege, a child’s passion for reading is more predictive of their academic success than their family’s socioeconomic status.[i] Let me say that again: a child’s pas… Read more


Let’s Read Dismantles Barriers to Literacy by Uniting Technology and Local Communities in Asia’s Free Digital Library for Children

San Francisco, April 15, 2019


Today, The Asia Foundation unveiled Let’s Read, Asia’s free digital library for children, a locally-driven solution to book scarcity in Asia. During remarks delivered at the annual Comparative & International Education Society (CIES) conference in San Francisco, Director Melody Zavala, Associate Director Kyle Barker, and Program Specialist Morg… Read more


Let’s Read: Asia’s Free Digital Library Creating Children Who Love to Read and Thriving Societies

April 15, 2019


See how Let’s Read is tackling book scarcity and dismantling barriers to literacy by building sustainable book ecosystems. Let’s Read cultivates a love for reading with the only free, region-wide, digital library for children in Asia. Viewers meet Seiha, a young Cambodian writer, and Pisey, an illustrator, as they prepare for a Let’s Read BookLab,… Read more


The Asia Foundation Works with Community to Add Balinese to Free Digital Library for Children

Bali, February 27, 2019


This month, The Asia Foundation partnered with BASAbali to host a translation event at Balai Bahasa, the national language agency. The event brought together 25 government language ambassadors, professional teachers of Balinese, and BASAbali’s linguists to translate, edit, and publish 50 children’s books created by Let’s Read communities across Asi… Read more


Vietnamese added to Asia Foundation’s Free Digital Library for Children

Hanoi, January 30, 2019


The Asia Foundation collaborated with 90 volunteers in Hanoi to translate 100 children’s books into Vietnamese and publish them on Let’s Read, its free digital library for children. The events, held on December 20, 2018 and January 3, 2019, brought together editors from Kim Dong Publishing House as well as faculty members and students from Universi… Read more


Women Authors and Illustrators Create Inspiring Storybooks for Girls in Indonesia

Jakarta, November 1, 2018


Asia Foundation, Litara Foundation, The Estée Lauder Companies host Jakarta BookLab Women authors and illustrators are creating children’s books in Bahasa Indonesia with an emphasis on gender equality and dynamic female characters as a part of The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia Let’s Read! initiative in Indonesia. The two-day book creation event,… Read more


Asia Foundation Creates Environment-Themed Storybooks at Let’s Read Booklab

Phnom Penh, September 24, 2018


The Asia Foundation in Cambodia hosted an environment-themed book creation event as part of its Let’s Read Initiative at its incubator space, TEK4Good. During the intensive two-day Booklab, a team of local writers, illustrators, and book editors gathered together to produce ten original, local-language children’s stories that touch on topics includ… Read more


Asia Foundation and Starbucks Bring Coffee Storybook to Let’s Read! Digital Library

Phnom Penh, September 19, 2018


The Asia Foundation and Starbucks Cambodia organized a Let’s Read! Booklab (previously referred to as e-book hackathons) on September 14 with a team consisting of a writer, an illustrator, an editor, and Starbucks partners at the Starbucks store located in Eden Garden. The book creation event is part of a broader collaboration between both organiza… Read more


Asia Foundation Nurtures Children’s Storybook Creatives in Cambodia, One Editor at a Time

Phnom Penh, September 4, 2018


The Asia Foundation gathered current and aspiring children’s book editors together on September 1-2 to sharpen their editing abilities to guide Cambodia’s growing pool of writers and illustrators in producing high quality children’s books. The workshop, which took place at The Asia Foundation’s TEK4Good space, was part of the Foundation’s Let’s Rea… Read more


Asia Foundation, MoneyGram Foundation and Seoul Metropolitan Government Partner to Publish Multilingual Storybooks in Korea

Seoul, August 31, 2018


The Asia Foundation’s  Let’s Read! initiative is pleased to announce its partnership with the MoneyGram Foundation and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. On August 31, the Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a year-long collaboration on joint project, “Multilingual Book Creation for Migrant Families in Korea” to support cu… Read more


Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia Pakistan Joins the Let’s Read! Initiative

Islamabad, July 16, 2018


Books for Asia Pakistan joined The Asia Foundation’s regional Let’s Read! initiative on July 5th, contributing the first English-to-Urdu translation of the popular children’s book by Pratham Book’s Storyweaver, Didi and the Colorful Treasure. At an in-house session in Islamabad, two teams of staff members filled the role of editors and translators,… Read more

Attendees at the event 

Let’s Read! Adds 50 New Children Books Translated into Khmer

Phnom Penh, June 26, 2018


The Asia Foundation hosted a Let’s Read! Translation Event on June 23 and 24 with 10 teams consisting of editors and volunteers, including university students, who collaborated to translate and publish 50 children books from English to Khmer at the Foundation’s TEK4Good, a community space for tech startups. These books are now live on the Let’s Rea… Read more


Asia Foundation Announces YBM Support to Expand Let’s Read! in Asia

Seoul, December 19, 2017


The Asia Foundation today announced a donation from one of Korea’s largest publishing and education companies, YBM, Inc., to expand the Foundation’s Let’s Read! digital libraries initiative. The regional platform brings open-sourced books in local languages to children in underserved communities in Asian countries, helping to improve access to book… Read more


Asia Foundation Celebrated as 2017 Library of Congress ‘Program Best Practice Honoree’

Washington, DC, November 30, 2017


The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program was honored as a 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program Best Practice Honoree at a November 27 event at the Library’s historic Thomas Jefferson Building. Following on the awards announcement in September, the celebration event featured leaders representing organizations from around the world sh… Read more


Asia Foundation Partners with Starbucks Cambodia on ‘Give Good’ Storybook Campaign

Phnom Penh, November 29, 2017


The Asia Foundation is partnering with Starbucks in Cambodia to launch the “Give Good” Charity Campaign, an initiative that supports the “Let’s Read!” project this holiday season. “‘Let’s Read!’ is a regional project that gathers local talent for open-sourced storybook creation, with an aim of promoting the love of reading among young children,” sa… Read more


Photo Blog: Building a Children’s Digital Library in Indonesia

September 20, 2017


Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands, with around 700 languages spoken across the archipelago. For all of its rich and diverse cultural history, Indonesia does not have a long and deeply embedded tradition of children’s literature. Access to quality children’s books is difficult, especially in remote and underserved areas. On Sept. 16, 2017,… Read more


Library of Congress Honors Asia Foundation for Promoting Literacy

Washington, DC, September 14, 2017


The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program was recently selected as a 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program Best Practice Honoree. At the Library of Congress National Book Festival gala earlier this month, the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the winners of the 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, which included Books… Read more


Creating Books that Preserve Cultures and Improve Literacy

September 6, 2017


Along a rutted, dirt road, high in the mountains of Northern Thailand near the border with Myanmar, a clearing in the thick jungle forest provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Hidden in the thick carpet of trees below is the remote village of Khun Tae. An expansion of the electrical grid and widening cellular coverage in… Read more


Let’s Read! Digital Library Brings Children’s Books to Indonesia

Jakarta, September 5, 2017


The Asia Foundation enables access to quality books and community-powered translation In the archipelago of Indonesia, especially among remote and underserved communities, quality children’s books are rare commodities. Limited access to early-grade content is a barrier to literacy, academic success, and fostering a lifelong love of reading among ch… Read more

Cambodia Let's Read 

STEM Storybooks Come to Life at Let’s Read! E-Book Cambodia Hackathon

Phnom Penh, August 22, 2017


The Asia Foundation in Cambodia hosted the Let’s Read! E-Book Hackathon, “STEM for Kids” over the weekend at the Tekhub incubator space. During the two-day hack challenge on August 19-20, a team of local writers, illustrators, and graphic designers gathered to collaborate and produce eight original, local-language children’s stories designed to spa… Read more


Let’s Read! Digital Library Brings Books to Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 8, 2017


Asia Foundation Powers Access to Minority Language Children’s Books In the mountainous regions of Northern Thailand, books are rare commodities, and children’s books in languages other than standard Thai are almost non-existent. For speakers of S’gaw Karen, a minority language spoken by nearly one million people primarily living in mostly rural com… Read more


Reuters: From Saving a Village to Fighting Aliens, Cambodian Books Show ‘Girls Can Do Anything’

July 13, 2017

Media Coverage

Reuters News highlights The Asia Foundation’s e-book project designed to empower young girls and women. The book series is part of the “Let’s Read!” campaign in Cambodia. “The availability of original storybooks for children in Khmer is limited. Content related to the empowerment of women is even more scarce,” said Edward Anderson from The Asia Fou… Read more


Girls Empowerment Storybook Collection Now Available from Let’s Read!

July 3, 2017


The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read! initiative has released eight new, vibrantly illustrated children’s books with the theme “Girls Can Do Anything.” The Khmer-language collection features strong female lead characters who overcome obstacles with courage and ingenuity. In the stories, the female characters build a flying contraption to save a village… Read more

A participant in the Let's Read! hackathon 

Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read! E-Book Competition Launches Girls Empowerment Collection in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, March 8, 2017


This International Women’s Day, The Asia Foundation honors eight stories of female ingenuity and bravery that have been chosen as winners of the Let’s Read! children’s story competition in Cambodia titled Girls Can Do Anything. The Girls Can Do Anything competition was organized to encourage the writing of children’s stories featuring dynamic femal… Read more

Illustrator at Let’s Read! E-Book Hackathon, 2016 

Let’s Read! E-Book Hackathon 2016

December 8, 2016


In order to break through longstanding barriers that limit the availability of children’s books, this series of hackathon-style events develops a collection of original, high-quality, storybooks in Khmer available under Creative Commons licenses. The program centers around one action-packed day in which teams of writers, illustrators, book designer… Read more


Hackathons Usher in New Chapter for Children’s Books in Cambodia

November 30, 2016


On September 18, nearly 20 publishers, editors, writers, and young technologists, ready with pencils and laptops, filled a co-working space in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, for the country’s first children’s e-book hackathon. The hackathon is part of Let’s Read! an Asia Foundation initiative that applies technology interventions to stimulate read… Read more

Cambodian students in the school library during a weekly reading session. 

Southeast Asia Globe: How the digital revolution is bringing books to Cambodia’s children

November 10, 2016

Media Coverage

Southeast Asia Globe highlights The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia Let’s Read! E-Books for Cambodian Children: Despite this apparent goodwill, though, there remains a stark dearth of reading material for young Cambodians outside of their official school textbooks. Wendy Rockett, senior communications officer for The Asia Foundation’s Books for As… Read more


Asia Foundation Launches Let’s Read! E-Books for Cambodian Children

Phnom Penh, September 19, 2016


Yesterday, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program launched Let’s Read! E-Books for Cambodian Children, a program that will develop a line of high-quality, Khmer-language storybooks. Let’s Read! E-Books for Cambodian Children addresses one of the root causes for the weak reading culture in many developing Asian countries – a non-existent or un… Read more

Cambodian students in the school library during a weekly reading session. 

5 Lessons on How to Build a Digital Library Program

September 6, 2016


Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and a half century later there’s much to celebrate. However, one of the persistent problems faced by schools in developing countries still today is a lack of one of the most essential ingredients to encourage reading: engaging children’s books to build literacy from an early age. In… Read more

Amaraa in the hallway of their apartment building. 

Economic Struggles and Expectations for Education in a Changing Mongolia

September 6, 2016


Mongolia is currently a land in economic flux. Fallen revenues from the mining sector and potential bracing measures from the newly elected government point to economic uncertainty ahead. While investment in various sectors may inevitably be delayed, one area that should continue to be a priority is education. The nearly two-thirds of Ulaanbaatar’s… Read more


Dengue Fever supports Let’s Read!

September 17, 2015


Indie band Dengue Fever endorses Let’s Read! Asia during the Foundation’s crowd-funding campaign.


Let’s Read! Campaign

September 9, 2015


Books for Asia, in conjunction with Library for All, is launching Let’s Read! Asia, a project that uses low-cost technology to enable underprivileged children to attain the most essential of childhood experiences – the magic of becoming lost in a story. We are piloting the project in Cambodia, where we’ll be equipping schools and mobile libraries w… Read more


Let’s Read! Asia: Indiegogo Campaign Toolkit

September 4, 2015


The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program is excited to share with you material for the Let’s Read! Asia Indiegogo campaign! We felt this would be great content for you to share across your social media platforms. Countless children in Cambodia lack access to engaging, colorful storybooks that inspire a lifelong love of reading. More often than… Read more