Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: UNESCO

Sept. 8th ~ International Literacy Day

In fact, it’s the 50th Anniversary of International Literacy Day! international literacy day

Here’s some data…

“The world has changed since 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all.”
~~~  UNESCO Director-General   

World Literacy Foundation

International Literacy Association

And, here are 17 articles on literacy

List of countries by literacy rate

Map of World Literacy

The 10 Most Literate Countries in the World

The 10 Countries with the Lowest Literacy Rates
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Happy World Book Day :-) or is it??

Some folks might be confused…

There are at least two World Book Days…

Today is World Book Day in the U.K. and IrelandWorld Book Day-UK-Ireland

UNESCO_World_Book_and_Copyright_Day April 23rd is the World Book Day sponsored by the United Nations.

from Wikipedia:

“The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain. The original idea was from the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honor the author, Miguel de Cervantes, who died on this date. In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors.”

And, here’s the reasoning for the U.K./Ireland celebration today:

“This date came about after serious thought and lengthy discussion to ensure that we were making the best decision for all participants and our supporters. We take into consideration religious holidays, school terms and potential conflict with other charitable activities.”

What would you do, if you knew it was World Book Day, to celebrate it?


World-Loved Author Donates to WorldReader

No Re-Blog today—I got an important e-mail… Paulo Coelho - WorldReader

I’ve blogged here before about the organization WorldReader.

You can read more about the good WorldReader does but here’s just a taste:

Creating a Literate World

Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty (UNESCO). Yet there are 740 million illiterate people in this world and 250 million children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills (UNESCO). Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still 50% of schools in Africa have few or no books at all (SACMEQ II).

Worldreader is on a mission to bring digital books to every child and her family, so that they can improve their lives.

And, here’s what the e-mail I got this morning said:

Dear Alexander,

In the words of Paulo Coelho, life is an education. It is a journey of continuous learning that allows us to find love and happiness in our daily lives. The wise words of Paulo Coelho have inspired millions around the world and thanks to Paulo’s generosity, his books will inspire millions more in Africa. I’m ecstatic to share with you that Paulo Coelho has donated three titles to the Worldreader digital library: The Supreme Gift, Christmas Stories, Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren.

Now, all of our readers in Africa, whether they are reading on e-readers or mobile devices, can open their minds and hearts to Paulo Coelho’s beautiful and transformative lessons.

Read more about Paulo Coelho’s support and be sure to share the exciting news with your family and friends!


Danielle Zacarias
Director of Content & Publisher Relations

If you’re able, do think about supporting the worthy efforts of WorldReader
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International Literacy Day & a MOOC about How to Write Fiction

Yes, the 8th of September is United Nations Literacy Day with the theme this year being “Literacy and Sustainable Societies”.

From the UN site:

“Literacy skills are the prerequisite for the learning of a broader set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, required for creating sustainable societies. At the same time, progress in areas of sustainable development, such as health and agriculture, serves as an enabling factor in the promotion of literacy and literate environments. “

And, since some of you will be into the 8th in just a few hours, and, since literacy and fiction are very closely related, it seems like fate’s kissing me because I can also give you a 2-week heads-up on a MOOCmassive open online course—called How Writers Write Fiction.

This MOOC is Free and is being offered by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

From the IWW site:

“For more than 75 years emerging writers have come to Iowa City to work on their manuscripts and to exchange ideas about writing and reading with each other and with the faculty”

Obviously, since it’s an online course, you don’t have to trek to Iowa City :-)

It starts on the 24th of September and runs till the 24th of November.

The course will be taught by Christopher Merrill, IWP Director and University of Iowa Professor of English and Angela Flournoy, author of the critically-acclaimed novel The Turner House.

The video class components of the course will include Paul Harding, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Naomi Jackson, Edward Carey, Margot Livesy, and many others.

Again, from the site:

“Each week, the video class will be followed by a set of fiction-writing assignments based on the topics these authors presented in their lectures. These assignments will invite you to write fiction, post your work to the MOOC website, and engage in community feedback with your fellow writers. Supplementary readings will also be posted for your exploration.”


Approximately 2-5 hours/week for 8 weeks.

Technical Requirements:

No previous writing experience is necessary.

And, for me, one of the more amazing aspects of the course is:

“If you would like to take this course but do not have sufficient internet access, please contact us at We will endeavor to facilitate the creation of a local MOOC access group for your use.”

Check out their video:


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Who’s Reading Books On All Those Mobile Devices?

Far from what most of us call civilization, a young girl is standing in the forest near her village. Reading In The Mobile Era

In her hand is a mobile phone.

She’s reading a book

This is happening in our world and there’s an organization working very hard to make it happen more often.

Worldreader is that organization and I’ve blogged here before about them

Recently, they teamed up with Nokia and UNESCO to produce a REPORT about the question, Can mobile phones reduce illiteracy rates?”.

Here are a few facts from that report:

  1. It’s enjoyable: Over 60% of people said they enjoy reading on their cell phones and want to read more.
  2. It’s a great tool for gender equality: Among the estimated 750 million illiterate adults in the world today, nearly two-thirds are women. On our app, more men are reading than women, but women, once they get their hands on a mobile phone, read 6 times more than men.
  3. It’s helping create a culture of reading to be passed along to future generations: One out of every three people surveyed are actively reading to children on their cell phones.

Find out more about how Worldreader uses mobile tech to address illiteracy.

Read what Forbes has to say about it.

Check out the phenomenon of turning dumbphones into smartphones.

And, here’s a link to DONATE to Worldreader

Now, sit back and relax and watch a video about it all :-)

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