Portuguese-Language SDG Book Club: Open for Business

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The new chapter is divided into an effort in Portugal and a sister program in Brazil, each announcing its reading list.

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in Portuguese. Image: SDG Book Club Lisbon

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

‘Toward a Sustainable Planetary Consciousness’
As Publishing Perspectives reported in September, the SDG Book Clubcreated almost three  years ago and launched at Bologna International Book Fair in 2019 by the International Publishers Association and the United Nations—has been developing a Portuguese chapter of its children’s content. Today (June 10), we have word of that content, now curated, going live and becoming available.

“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. 13, “Climate Action.”

That’s a timely topic, as the G-7 leaders meet in Cornwall today. The April report from Oxfam and the Swiss Re Institute, The Economics of Climate Change: An Action, Not an Option, indicates that those G-7 nations may lose as much as 8.5 percent of their gross domestic product in the next 30 years if temperatures rise by 2.6 degrees centigrade.

And as the two wings of the newly populated SDG Book Club lists of lusophone books become available—one group of reads for Portugal and one for Brazil—the Brazilian side is planning to hold a June 16 digital event.

Here’s the link to the Brazilian Portuguese SDG Book Club site, presented by the Brazilian Book Chamber. Here’s that program’s initial collection, featuring work of Otávio Junior published by Companhia das Letrinhas; Marie Ange Edges from Pulo do Gato; and Tadeu Sarmento from SM.

And here’s the link to Lisbon’s SDG Book Club site. Here’s that program’s very big, rich first list of reading for youngsters (PDF). Quite an interesting collection, it includes works of Victor Hugo, John Steinbeck, Oscar Wilde, Albert Camus, Bill Bryson, Haruki Murakami, Louisa May Alcott, Jules Verne, and Svetlana Aleksievitch.

‘Equality and Sustainability’

Many people whose work involves the development of this two-country Portuguese program want to announce their support.

Vitor Tavares

In a prepared statement, the Brazilian chamber president Vitor Taveres is quoted, saying, “The book is an essential source of ideas for human development and all aspects that make us live in harmony with the planet.

“Encouraging the reading of books that address issues such as equality and sustainability is like planting a seed of transformation in the world.

“The Portuguese Language SDG Book Club is a great initiative in this regard. When children grow up in contact with these learnings, they will certainly have present and future habits that value each of the goals proposed by the UN, and that can transform the world for the better.”

Bruno Duarte Eiras

Bruno Duarte Eiras, the deputy director of the general-directorate for books, archives, and libraries in Portugal, says, “The UN SDG Book Club is a great opportunity to engage with readers about SDG and 2030 agenda principles.

“With this initiative, we can contribute to fulfill the 2030 agenda motto “Leaving no one behind” through reading and literature.

“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 and to promote action at public libraries.”

Elizabeth Serra

Elizabeth Serra, secretary-general of the Brazilian section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), says, “More than ever, the hope and confidence that unites us around the 2030 agenda is decisive for us to move toward a sustainable planetary consciousness.

“The bridge created by the SDG Book Club through literature books exponentially expands the possibilities of dialogue and knowledge of the other, as seeds for reaping peace in the world.

Pedro Sobral

At IBBY Brazil, we strive for the presence of literature, more than textbooks, to become daily and permanent in the lives of new generations. Knowing the stories, old and new, feeds the imagination that makes you dream, fantasize, create and act and leave no one behind.”

Pedro Sobral, the vice-president of APEL and general manager of Leya EG, is quoted, saying, “We’re so happy to show off all of the excellent books Portuguese publishers have released to help children understand the challenges of the future in their own language. We have our role to play in making a brighter future.”

Jorge Moisés

Jorge Moisés, president of the Brazilian Libraries Federation: Now that we have a rich selection of titles, our commitment is to build reflection, awareness, and dissemination with libraries to contribute to the formation of citizens capable of living in a society aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, even after 2030.

“There is engagement of libraries and librarians across the country as we are sure that the selected books have a potential for transformation and libraries have the competence to provide the environment for readings to happen”

Sherri Aldis

Sherri Aldis, who heads up the United Nations’ publications program, says, “It’s exciting to see such a diverse and comprehensive selection of books to launch the Portuguese Chapter of the SDG Book Club.

“Expanding the horizon of the Book Club to Lusophone children around the world will surely inspire them—and the adults in their lives to take action for people and planet during this crucial ‘decade of Action.'”

The founding partner organizations behind the formation of the Portuguese language SDG Book Club are:

  • Portuguese Publishers Association
  • Brazilian Book Chamber
  • Brazilian Libraries Federation
  • Brazilian section of IBBY
  • General-Directorate for Book, Archives and Libraries

Information from the International Publishers Association is that organizations interested in being involved in the initiative can contact Karine Pansa (IPA vice-president) at karine@girassolbrasil.com.br in Brazil and Duarte Eiras in Portugal at Bruno.Eiras@dglab.gov.pt.

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in English. Image: UN


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

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 2019 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 also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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