Room to Read World Change Challenge Gives 20,000+ Books to Kids in Developing World

The 2014 Room to Read World Change Challenge has reached it’s fundraising goal! Room to Read Writer-Ambassadors have teamed with school students all over the country to raise more than $20,000 to buy over 20,000 local-language books for children in the world’s poorest countries.

Australian authors have spent the past four months visiting schools across Australia and inspiring kids to help reach our $20,000 goal. (Room to Read’s writer-ambassador team includes some of Australia’s bestselling children’s authors: Deborah Abela, Jesse Blackadder, Sarah Davis, Kate Forsyth, Gus Gordon, Susanne Gervay, Libby Hathorn, Jacquie Harvey, John Larkin, Melina Marchetta, Sophie Masson, Belinda Murrell, Oliver Phommavanh and Alice Pung.)

There have been BookSwaps, Guessing Competitions, Market Stalls, Drop Everything and Read hours, Embarrass Your Teacher days and dozens of other inventive challenges dreamed up and executed by kids everywhere.

Deborah Abela and Stephen Axelson auctioning artwork at the 2014 SCBWI Conference.

The 2014 Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference held an art auction of illustrations by Bruce Whatley and Stephen Axelson, the challenge was hosted by Room to Read ambassadors Deborah Abela and Susanne Gervay, raising $1400. Author Jesse Blackadder and her partner Andi completed a 350km bike ride in New Zealand, raising $1650. Star of the Sea Catholic School in Gladstone Queensland raised $2154.50.

Josh Lorschy with Room to Read founder, John Wood.

And 14 year-old Sydney schoolboy, filmmaker and activist Josh Lorschy rallied his school, Barker College, to raise a stellar $3160.90. Star of the Sea wins a book prize package from Random House Australia and I will visit Barker College to give a talk on reading, writing and creativity.

Room to Read is one of the most dynamic non-profits on the planet, establishing more than 16,000 school libraries in the developing world, educating more than 28,000 girls and benefiting more than 8.8 million children with their programs over the past fourteen years. Their Destination Literacy goal is to reach 10 million children by December 2015.

HUGE thanks to Room-to-Readers Jennie Orchard, Wendy Rapee, Mihiri Udabage and Janelle Prescott who have supported this year’s World Change Challenge all the way as well as to our writer-ambassadors, sponsor Random House Australia, and all the teachers and students who dug in and made this happen.


The 2015 Challenge promises to be better than ever, with a bigger, hairier goal, wilder challenges, even greater student engagement across Australia and more books in the hands of children who, otherwise, would have none. Well done to all!


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