SDG Book Club for Young Readers: A Portuguese-Language Expansion

In News by Porter Anderson

Now two years into its work, the SDG Book Club for young readers devised by the UN and International Publishers Association today gets a lusophone wing, provided by a consortium of organizations.

In Rio de Janeiro, a shot from July 3. Image – iStockphoto: Dabldy

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

Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals
All you need to know about the struggle to gain attention in a world distracted by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic lies in the headline on the United Nations’ 75th General Assembly feature: “Quiet Corridors But a Full Program at Virtual UNGA75.”

The 75th annual General Assembly is struggling–along with everyone else–to draw people back to their computers, tablets, and phones for more Zooming.

New York City has been spared its usual UN Week traffic jams, for once, but–as The New York Times‘ piece with Rick Gladstone, Eric Nagourney, Livia Albck-Ripka, and Jason Gutierrez puts it in a subheading, it’s “a General Assembly, minus the assembly.”

Nevertheless, today (September 23), the SDG Book Club–quite familiar to readers of Publishing Perspectives since its creation was announced two years ago by the International Publishers Association and the UN–has announced a large influx of children’s content in Portuguese.

“SDG” is for Sustainable Development Goals, of course, and the “book club” is a program that themes collections of titles curated for young readers. It takes one goal at a time and cycles through the 17 goals, producing its recommendations in the UN’s official languages of Arabic, French, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and English. Currently, for example, the club is focusing on Goal No. 10, “Reduced Inequalities”–a timely topic, certainly, in so many world publishing markets.

Over time, however, linguistically delineated “clubs” have developed in Norway and Indonesia, an effort to expand the reach of the material.

The announcement today brings together a broad coalition of organizations to generate a welcome Portuguese wing of the program. And in announcing this development today during Global Goals Week in UN parlance, representatives of a slate of participating organizations have provided comments.

From left are Vitor Tavares, Bruno Duarte Eiras, Sherri Aldis, Pedro Sobral, and Amir Piedade

From the Brazilian Book Chamber, Vitor Tavares is quoted, saying, “There are so many great books out there in Portuguese that deal with the different Sustainable Development Goals. They can teach children about the challenges we face and hopefully help us achieve the goals by 2030.”

Bruno Duarte Eiras, who is deputy director of Portugal’s general-directorate for books, archives, and libraries, says, “Books have the power to help us understand the world around us and each other. We’re excited to be building on the original UN SDG Book Club to bring the goals to Portuguese-speaking children.”

From the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in Brazil, Amir Piedade, the national group’s president, says, “Part of IBBY’s Mission is to promote international understanding by bringing children and books together.

“What better way to do that than through the SDG Book Club?”

The position of the IPA in its partnership with the UN in leading the SDG Book Club is that the program is an effort of the world publishing community supporting the Sustainable Development Goals “as an investment in future generations of leaders, innovators and agents of change.”

Pedro Sobral, vice-president with APEL, the Portuguese Publishers Association, is quoted, saying, “Our hope is that the SDG Book Club will provide a wonderful resource for parents, teachers and libraries to start important conversations with children about topics related to sustainability.”

Adrianne Ferrari, president of the Brazilian Libraries Federation, is quoted, saying, “To achieve the SDGs, we need everyone in society. I’m delighted that libraries are strategic partners for this project and that the SDG book club will be a powerful way to explain and promote the SDG agenda.”

And Sherri Aldis, who heads up the UN publications office, says this expansion of the SDG Book Club, is “making lusophone books discoverable for millions of children around the world to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and what they can do to help achieve them.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on the SDG Book Club is here, more from us on the International Publishers Association is here, more on the Brazilian market is here, and more on Portugal is here .

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site. 

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.