SDG Book Club Issues First Reading List on Sustainable Goals at Bologna

In News by Porter Anderson

Works by Ángela Lago, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Omaima Ezadeen are among the first reading list announced by the United Nations’ new SDG Book Club at Bologna.

At the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019. Image: Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Each Month a New List in Six Languages
Today (April 2), the United Nations’ SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Book Club for young readers—a project with the International Publishers Association (IPA)—has named its first round of reading-list selections at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the focus of this initial list is the UN initiative’s first of 17 world goals: the elimination of poverty.

The program calls for a new book list to appear in each of 17 months—one for each of the 17 goals—the SDG Book Club will release a book list.

In May, the SDG Book Club will address the issue of Goal 2: Zero Hunger and in June, Goal 3: Good Health and Well Being. The SDG Book Club will continue until August 2020, ending with Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

The languages of the program are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

The announcement at Bologna was led by Michiel Kolman, the Elsevier executive who is the immediate past president of the IPA and now serves as its envoy for diversity and inclusion. Kolman was joined by Carole Bloch, executive director of the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) and vice-president of IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People.

Other organizations engaged in the SDG Book Club include the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) and the Bologna fair.

Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general at the UN, addressed the announcement audience on video, encouraging them to participate because, “True sustainability is only achievable with the support of the young.”

The SDG Book Club encourages children to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and discover new voices and concepts from around the world in all six official UN languages.

SDG Book Club Reading Recommendations on Poverty


  • Aina da’at by Mohanned Al Akoos
  • The Wonder Bag by Omaima Ezadeen
  • The Strange Wondrous House by Omama Allawati


  • Adventures of Sanmao by Zhang Lepin
  • The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
  • Ah, Xiangxue by Tie Ning


  • Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
  • The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
  • A Chair for My Mother by Vera B Williams
  • The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde with illustrator Maisie Paradise Shearring


  • Jouer Aux Fantômes by Didier Levy, Illustrator : Sonja Bougaeva
  • L’usine by Yael Hassan
  • La Pauvreté et la Faim by Louise Spilsbury with illustrator Hanane Kai
  • Ma Robe Couleur de Fruits by Myriam Gallot with llustrator Julia Wauters


  • The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish by Alexander Pushkin
  • Vanka by Anton Chekhov
  • The Cat’s House by Samuil Marshak


  • A la Sombra de los Anacardos by Antón Fortes Torres with illustrator Simona Mulazzani
  • De Noche en la Calle by Ángela Lago
  • No Comas Renacuajos by Francisco Montaña Ibáñez
  • Un Punado de Semillas by Mónica Hughes with illustrator Luis Garay

To join the SDG Book Club, find out more here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on children’s books is here, and more on the work of the International Publishers Association is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.