Launch of the UN SDG Book Club: African Chapter

The UN Sustainable Development Goals Book Club was launched in 2019, by a coalition of global book sector organizations with the International Publishers Association (IPA) as the lead organizer. Over the course of a 17 month calendar, the global SDG Book Club publishes book recommendations for each of the 17 sustainable development goals in each of the UN’s 6 official languages. Borders Literature for all Nations is one of the co-organizers of the newly launched African SDG Book Club. Today, we welcome Borders founder, Olatoun Gabi-Williams, to tell us all about the project and how readers can get involved...

By Olatoun Gabi-Williams


On 23 April 2021, World Book and Copyright Day, the African Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Book Club released its first reading lists of African titles aimed at children age 6-12. These books introduce young people to the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through stories in Arabic, English, French, Kiswahili and other indigenous African languages.

On the occasion of World Book Day, the United Nations Information Centre in Namibia, together with leading African organisations representing publishers, libraries, booksellers, authors and the promotion of books for youth, launched the African SDG Book Club with a reading list of 17 books related to Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty and Goal 2: Zero Hunger.

Every two months the African SDG Book Club will release a book list related to each of the SDGs. In June, the African SDG Book Club will address the issue of Goal 3: Good health & Well-Being.

SDG 1: No Poverty

The African books recommended for the first Sustainable Development Goal are as follows. All reading lists can be downloaded as PDFs from the African SDG Book Club website.


UN SDG 1, No Poverty: recommended books in English

Kayim’s Quest for Good Fortune, Author: Ama Worla, Illustrator: Cycil Abban Jones; Publisher: Mountype Publishers (GHANA)

Leg Power: Victor Wanyama, Author: Jimmy Asudi, Illustrator: Abel Murumba; Publisher: Nsemia Inc. Publishers (KENYA)

Monkey Business, Author: Chukwuemeka Iroegbu Chukwudi; Publisher: University Press Plc (NIGERIA)

Village Boy, Author: Anietie Usen, Illustrator: Mike Asukwo; Publisher: Origami – imprint of Parresia Publishers (NIGERIA)


The Eid Dress by Abeer Mohamed Anwar, Illustrator: Sahar Abdullah; published by Nahdit Misr

The Feast Dress/The Eid Dress, Author: Abeer Mohamed Anwar, Illustrator: Sahar Abdullah; Publisher: Nahdit Misr Publishing Group (EGYPT)


Hatima ya Musa, Author: Dominic Maina, Illustrator: Tonny Siema, Publisher: Queenex Publisher (KENYA)

Utenzi Haki za Watoto, Author: Yusuf Abbas, Illustrator: Khalid Yusuf; Publisher: Readit Books Ltd (TANZANIA)

Akan (Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire)

Kweku Anansi and His New Wife, Author: Farida Salifu; E-Library: World Stories

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

The African books recommended for the SDG2 are as follows. All reading lists can be downloaded as PDFs from the African SDG Book Club website.


UN SDG 2, Zero Hunger: recommended books in English

Chokora: A Kenyan Scavenger, Author: PGN Mbugwa, Illustrator: Robert Maina; Publisher: Nsemia Inc. Publishers (KENYA)

Koko Grows Food, Author: Maliya Mzyece Sililo, Illustrator: Harrington Kanyanta; Publisher: Sotrane Publishers (ZAMBIA)

The Magic Formula, Author: Ibrahima Ndiaye, Illustrator: Capucine Mazille; Publisher: Bakame Editions (RWANDA)

Sabina: The Rain Girl, Author: Christopher Okemwa, Illustrator: Abel Murumba; Publisher: Nsemia Inc. Publishers (KENYA)


Farhan and Farha Adventure in the Village, Author: Harun Abubakar and F. Shariff, Illustrator: Denis Muchiri; Publisher: Atfaal Publishers Limited (KENYA)


L’arbre au secret, Author: John Kilaka, Illustrator: John Kilaka, Translator: Jean René; Publisher: Yanbow Al Kitab (MOROCCO)


UN SDG 2, Zero Hunger: recommended books in Kiswahili and Yoruba

Kijiji cha Ukame, Author: Hamisi Babusa, Publisher: Storymoja Publishers (KENYA)

Debe la Dhahabu, Author: Mehta Abeid, Illustrator: Abdul Gugu; Publisher: Mathews Bookstore & Stationers (TANZANIA)

Yoruba (West Africa, Cuba and Brazil)

Alake, the Cold Water Seller, Author: Omolara Fadiya; Publisher: Rasmed Publications (NIGERIA)

What is the UN SDG Book Club?

The children of today are the builders of tomorrow. The SDG Book Club aims to use a wide-range of suitable genres of books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The curated reading lists feature books from around the world in all six official UN languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The books relate to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Throughout March 2021, US librarian Katie Day presented an excellent series of posts at Global Literature in Libraries about the UN SDGs, full of ideas of how libraries and schools can engage with the 17 goals through reading. Katie’s month-long curation of the GLLI blog started with this introduction for international school teacher-librarians on March 1st.

There are now several regional and national chapters with UN SDG book clubs in Brazil, Indonesia, Norway and Portugal.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to Transform our World

The languages of the UN SDG Book Club African Chapter

The African Chapter of the UN SDG Book Club operates in 4 main languages of Africa: Kiswahili, French, English and Arabic. Importantly, the jury, constituted of experienced writers, editors, booksellers, publishers and librarians, will pick an honorary book in an indigenous African language for showcasing on the reading lists of books picked in the 4 main languages of the Club. Reading lists will be updated every two months to reflect the full succession of the 17 SDGs.

Get involved! An invitation to schools, bookshops, libraries, book clubs

Over a timeline of 5 weeks – from April 23rd to May 30th 2021 – all schools, book shops, libraries and book clubs across Africa are invited to join the inauguration activities by carrying out activities related to SDG 1 No Poverty and SDG 2 Zero Hunger

Examples of activities range from the simple to the more elaborate: dramatic sketches, poetry performances, short debates or monologues to advocate about the elimination of poverty and hunger, mime performances, dance or any other suitable and creative activity.

Participating institutions are invited to share videos and photographs on social media using our hashtags: #unsdgbookclubafricanchapter #GlobalGoals #SDGBookClub #Africa #AfricanChildren #AfricanBooks #SDGs

  • The website for the African Chapter of the SDG Book Club
  • Follow the African SDG Book Club on Facebook and YouTube

More information

The organisations that have come together to support the African chapter of the UN SDG Book Club are the African Publishers Network, African Library and Information Associations and Institutions, Pan-African Writers Association, Pan-African Booksellers Association, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, Borders Literature for all Nations, and the United Nations Information Centre Windhoek, Namibia.

For more information, contact Wale Okediran, Secretary-General of Pan-African Writers Association [PAWA] at, Anna Kharuchas at or Welda Mouton at

African authors, publishers or booksellers interested in submitting books for future SDGs can do so in English and French.