Let’s Read


Fostering a Love for Reading in Nepal: Let’s Read Exhibitions

April 16, 2024

Program Snapshot Post

In Nepal, our Let’s Read initiative is continuing to cultivate a love of books and reading through interactive and community-focused literature festivals. The initiative draws on The Asia Foundation’s deep expertise and networks in communities across Asia and the Pacific to cultivate the skills of local authors and illustrators while building Asia’… Read more

Four Children and their parents stand in front of Let's Read Booth. 

Let’s Read Bangladesh: Fostering a Passion for Reading at the Kids Time Fair 2024

March 1, 2024

Program Snapshot Post

From February 16-18, our Let’s Read Bangladesh team participated in the Kids Time Fair 2024, organized by Light of Hope Ltd. The fair aimed to acquaint children and parents with various reading activities and organizations dedicated to nurturing children’s creativity, imagination, and future leadership potential. At our interactive booth, families… Read more


A New Chapter for a Storied Books Program

February 21, 2024

Blog Post

The Asia Foundation’s oldest program, Books for Asia, has a new name and a new mission.


“Let’s Read” Indonesia Helps Children Understand Mental Disabilities

February 7, 2024

Blog Post

Storybooks and young-adult fiction can introduce children to characters and situations that expand their capacity for empathy.


Investing in Creators to Promote Children’s Literature in Mongolia

November 1, 2023

Blog Post

A three-month fellowship for authors and illustrators develops mother-tongue children’s books and promotes reading in Mongolia


Mighty Girls: The Power of Storytelling

October 11, 2023

Blog Post

Representation matters, and storytelling is a powerful way to represent the aspirations and potential of women and girls.


“Gift of The Asia Foundation”—An Iconic Program and Its Director

September 27, 2023

Blog Post

Since 1957, Books for Asia has distributed almost 5 million books in Sri Lanka.


Ministry of Education’s Merdeka Curriculum Features Let’s Read Indonesia

August 29, 2023

Program Snapshot Post

In Indonesia, one of the factors behind the low literacy rate among children is a lack of access to interesting reading materials. Schools need to implement engaging reading into their curriculum to grow reading habits in the country. In episode 23 of Merdeka Curriculum, “High-Quality Children Books for Indonesia’s Literacy,” the Ministry of Educat… Read more

A screenshot of an interview featured on SEA Today Live. 

SEA Today Live Spotlights the Let’s Read Initiative in Indonesia

February 7, 2023

Media Coverage Post

SEA Today Live, an English-language news outlet based in Indonesia, interviewed Country Representative in Indonesia Hana Satriyo, The Asia Foundation, about the Let’s Read initiative. A recent report on learning loss during the pandemic by the World Bank estimates that the learning poverty rate in low- and middle-income countries has risen to 70 pe… Read more


In Mongolia, Making Time to Read with Young Children

September 28, 2022

Blog Post

Despite a culture of literacy, Mongolians need to read more with their children under five. A new initiative hopes to make that happen.


Let’s Read Publishes Six Picture Books on Child Rights in Nepal

March 9, 2022

News Post

The Asia Foundation and Srijanalaya–an NGO based in Nepal–in collaboration with National Human Rights Commission, launch six picture books for children and young adults. Organized by KathaSatha, the two-day launch festivities will include readings, conversations, and discussions. The opening launch event will start at 11 am March 10 in Nepal. All l… Read more


Al Jazeera Features Let’s Read and Ocean and Climate Action Storybook Series

February 24, 2022

Media Coverage Post

Al Jazeera features Let’s Read’s new Oceans and Climate Action children’s storybook series from the Pacific Islands. The ten new storybooks are a result of Let’s Read’s first-ever Booklab in the Pacific Islands held on the island nation of Fiji. The event brought together ten local artists, six writers, and four illustrators, to create stories arou… Read more

Three girls sit at a desk and look at a tablet together 

The Asia Foundation Launches “Let’s Read Mongolia” Initiative

September 2, 2021

News Post

The Asia Foundation is introducing its innovative Let’s Read initiative to Mongolia to promote reading and improved education outcomes. The initiative helps parents and caregivers use children’s books as critical tools in actively contributing to early childhood development. Let’s Read Mongolia is made possible with generous financial support from… Read more

Online conversation screen 

The Asia Foundation and UNESCO Dhaka Partnership in Bangladesh

January 22, 2021

Program Snapshot Post

On International Day of Education, The Asia Foundation in Bangladesh and United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Dhaka Office jointly announced the establishment of their partnership to develop and strengthen reading contents and reading activities on Cultural Heritage of Bangladesh. The partnership aims to utilize l… Read more

Outsider art drawing of a family with pets 

Books for Children in Nepal’s Mother Tongues

September 30, 2020

Blog Post

Nepal has nearly 200 indigenous languages, each with its own rich folklore and heritage. The Let’s Read project is bringing this heritage to life for Nepali children, in books written in their own mother tongues.

A group of people pose with books 

Let’s Read Without Limits: Building a Reading Movement in Timor-Leste

September 29, 2020

Program Snapshot Post

More than any other point in history, technology is a promising tool with the potential to accelerate development in countries around the world. If attention is not paid to offline communities, technology also has the potential to widen the development gap creating an even more dangerous learning and development divide. With a telecom partnership,… Read more


The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation Expands Partnership to Transform Girls’ Futures in Vietnam and Indonesia

August 3, 2020

News Post

The Asia Foundation and The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation (ELCCF) have renewed their commitment to transforming the future of economically and socially disadvantaged adolescent girls in Vietnam and Indonesia through education and skills development programs. Since the launch of ELCCF’s Scholarship program in Vietnam in 2010, The Asia… Read more


Communicating Vital Information in Myanmar Through Storybooks

July 31, 2020

Program Snapshot Post

Stories are an innate part of the human experience. From oral storytelling around fires to digital bursts consumed globally, the way in which we share stories has evolved but their purpose remains the same: sharing information. In Myanmar, The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read team works with local publisher Third Story Project in merging traditional an… Read more

detailed sketch for a digital book with text 

Philippines: The Virtual BookLab Makes Its Debut

July 8, 2020

Blog Post

With reading scores that trail the world, and access to the classroom threatened by the pandemic, children in the Philippines have never had a more urgent need for local-language reading materials.


In a Time of Covid-19, Screen-Time Worries Miss the Point  

June 24, 2020

Blog Post

Parents of locked-down children are more worried than ever about screen time. But preparing children for the future won’t happen by looking backwards to a pre-screen world that has already come and gone.m Today’s kids need screen-time mentors, not screen-time monitors


In Cambodia, Learning during Covid-19

May 13, 2020

Blog Post

Cambodia closed its schools in early March, but education hasn’t ground to a halt. As the Ministry of Education moves to online learning, The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read is pivoting to provide support for reading at home.


Let’s Read Brings Children’s E-Books to the Maldives

May 13, 2020

Program Snapshot Post

Located in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of Sri Lanka and India, the Maldives is an archipelago that is well known for its beautiful beaches, oceans, and resorts. With a population of less than half a million, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia and one of the most geographically dispersed.  Connected by a network of ferries, the… Read more

a woman in hijab and three boys review images on digital camera 

Picture Books: Teenagers’ Photos Inspire Children’s Books for Youth Across Asia

May 7, 2020

Program Snapshot Post

What if the voices of children and young people held a meaningful place in the conversation about education programs that deeply affect their lives? The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read initiative in Indonesia worked with a group of 15 youth between the ages of 10 and 14 to use photography to document the impact of humans on their natural environment…. Read more


Books for Asia Partners with the U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu

May 6, 2020

News Post

The Asia Foundation is pleased to announce a new partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu. 2,384 books were donated to educational and government institutions in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu as part of its Books for Asia program. The books arrived in Fiji in March and the U.S. Embassy in Suva will di… Read more


South China Morning Post Features Let’s Read in Profile of Indonesia’s “Quirkiest” Library

May 5, 2020

Media Coverage Post

South China Morning Post quotes Books For Asia Program Specialist Morgan Belveal in a feature of the Kolong Community Reading Park in Jakarta, Indonesia. “Our first audience is not schools. It’s not classrooms,” said Morgan Belveal, a programme specialist with The Asia Foundation, which is working with several groups in Jakarta, and in East and Wes… Read more


Let’s Read at Home: A New Resource to Support Out of School Children

April 2, 2020

Program Snapshot Post

At this moment, 9 out of 10 children in the world are out of school. The global Covid-19 pandemic has left millions of children without the essential support of teachers, librarians, and community centers. As a result, parents are frantically finding new ways to help their children continue to learn and grow from their own homes. As the timeline of… Read more


New Children’s Digital Book Explains Covid-19 for Children

March 24, 2020

Program Snapshot Post

With the spread of Covid-19 and many countries experiencing shelter in place orders, the need for resources to help children understand the world around them and maintain normalcy in their lives is greater than ever. In response, The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read initiative has published COVIBOOK, written by Manuela Molina Cruz, and available to any… Read more


Let’s Read Launches Nationwide #ReadEveryday Campaign in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 9, 2020

News Post

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in collaboration with The Asia Foundation and other partners, launched a nationwide reading campaign called #ReadEveryDay. This unique campaign encourages families, teachers, and librarians to create fun and positive reading experiences with at least 100,000 children every day between March 6-15. The launc… Read more


Nikkei News Cites Let’s Read in Op-Ed on Indonesia’s Fight Against Illiteracy

February 7, 2020

Media Coverage Post

The Nikkei Asian Review highlights The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read initiative in an op-ed assessing how Indonesia is improving literacy across the country through local technology-driven solutions. Impactful reading programs, such as the Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read initiative, which brings together communities and technology to build early readin… Read more


ABC+ to Reach More Children with More Languages using Let’s Read

Manila, November 26, 2019

News Post

The Asia Foundation and RTI International are working with the Department of Education (DepEd) on the implementation of Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines (ABC+), a 5-year project supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The technology and community driven collaboration is set to reach more children in thei… Read more


Khmer Times Highlights Crucial Roles of Libraries in Cambodia

November 13, 2019

Media Coverage Post

The Khmer Times publishes an opinion piece written by Foundation’s senior digital program officer in Cambodia Sorn Nimul Khut on the crucial role of libraries for instilling knowledge and skills in young students. The young learners of today, are our communities future leaders. The Asia Foundation has remarked, “books give free rein to young people… Read more


Let’s Read

October 25, 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


Thomson Reuters Features Let’s Read Mighty Girls Collection

September 10, 2019

News Post

Beh Lih Yi of Thomson Reuters Foundation profiles the Let’s Read “Mighty Girls” collection of books that feature dynamic female characters in “Indonesian storytellers spread ‘mighty girls’ message to fight male dominance.” “It will open their eyes to all the possibilities they can have as girls,” said The Asia Foundation’s Morga… Read more


The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read Initiative Builds Reading Opportunities for Children in Myanmar

Yangon, September 2, 2019

News Post

The Asia Foundation, Myanmar’s Ministry of Information, the Myanmar Library Association, and local children’s book publisher Third Story Project came together today to announce the launch of Let’s Read in Myanmar. Let’s Read is the Foundation’s collaborative approach to overcoming children’s book scarcity in Asia. Already present in nine countries… Read more


Asia Foundation Launches Modern Reading Challenge in Indonesia

Jakarta, June 26, 2019

News Post

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 Post

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

News Post

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

Blog Post

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


The Book Effect

April 24, 2019

Blog Post

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 Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

News Post

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

Blog Post

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


Creating Books that Preserve Cultures and Improve Literacy

September 6, 2017

Blog Post

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

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


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