Author Jacqueline Harvey (Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose) is a writer-ambassador for children’s literacy foundation Room to Read. Here, she shares why she cares about global literacy for children, what she is doing to help address it and simple ways that you can get involved, too.
1. Out of all the charities in all the world, why did you decide to become a writer-ambassador for Room to Read?
Reading changes people’s lives. It gives them access to information and knowledge and simple things that we take for granted like being able to understand instructions and directions, reading the labels on medicines and finding your way around becomes much easier if you are literate. Reading is power and Room To Read is all about empowering children. As a teacher, education is key to breaking the cycles of poverty in our world.
2. What do you most love about Room to Read’s work and approach to what they do?
Room to Read works with communities to provide books in their own languages and develop sustainable programs that will benefit children for many years. I love that they build, staff and resource libraries which can become a hub of learning.
3. What makes you care about education and literacy for children in other parts of the world?
I’m passionate about education and literacy for all children. Just because they are out of sight doesn’t mean they are out of mind. I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was nine years old and had every opportunity to do that because I grew up in a family where books and education were valued and accessible. All children have dreams and aspirations, but no so many have no avenues to pursue them – it’s heartbreaking when you hear a child talk about what they would like to be and you know that without education and literacy, it’s not going to happen. Room to Read is giving children opportunities to achieve more than their circumstances would dictate. Dreams are taking flight through programs teaching children to read and giving them the resources they need to pursue an education. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child learn to read, to find books that they love and use their literacy skills to learn.
4. What kinds of things have you done to show your support for Room to Read over the years?
I’ve spoken about Room to Read at schools and events, I’ve had a ‘Jacqueline Supports’ page inserted into the back of my recently published books talking about Room to Read and promoting their work and have a similar page on my website. I hope to be able to do many more things in the future.
5. What actions can schools and students perform to show their support for this year’s World Change Challenge?
Just get involved! Try some fun and easy challenges – the ones where you get to douse the teachers with water or give them a crazy hairdo are usually very popular, have a giant pyjama party at school where you get to read for half an hour, have a book swap, a dress up day, invite an author ambassador to come and speak, have a talent quest or some sort of physical challenge (like who can read in the most bizarre position – perhaps standing on their head!) or who can read in as many different places as possible – like in the shower, on the train, at the museum etc. Show the World Change Challenge video. Gold coin donations will soon add up.
Find out more about the Room to Read World Change Challenge and join the mission to raise $40,000 for 40,000 books for children in Nepal.