Monday, December 17, 2007

Silly Mammo Now Available!

After selling out of our initial run, Ethiopia Reads is pleased to announce that Silly Mammo is now available for sale in the United States. Originally published in 2003, Silly Mammo is a classic retelling of a famous Ethiopian folk tale, written by Yohannes Gebregeorgis.

Published in English and Amharic, Silly Mammo was the first dual-language book for children in Ethiopia. To date, more than 10,000 copies have been distributed to children throughout Ethiopia.

Silly Mammo -- and all of Ethiopia Reads' books -- make great gifts for Ethiopians and Ethio-Americans of every age and background. They are also very popular with American families who have adopted children from Ethiopia, as they help maintain a link to the culture, language and culture of Ethiopia.

Click here to purchase Silly Mammo and other Ethiopia Reads' books. Order by Wednesay, December 19 to ensure holiday delivery.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ethiopia Reads featured in GOOD HOUSEKEEPING Magazine!

Ethiopia Reads is thrilled to be featured in the October issue of Good Housekeeping! The eight-page feature story, "Hope Volume I," was written by the wonderful Melissa Fay Greene,w ith photos by J Carrier. Look for your copy on newsstands now.

This spring, Melissa spent a few weeks in Addis Ababa and Awassa, getting to know Yohannes Gebregeorgis, Ethiopia Reads' co-founder and Executive Director. Melissa also spent lots of time with children at Shola Children's Library and the Awassa Reading Center, and saw first-hand the power of books in the lives of children.

As Melissa reports, books for children are a rarity in Ethiopia, as are so many educational resources and opportunities that Americans take for granted. Yet Ethiopian children -- like children everywhere -- love books and stories, as well as the sanctuary of a library. Literacy is the tool that will improve their lives and the lives of future generations of Ethiopians.

As Melissa writes:

"Literacy is now understood to be a threshold to greater productivity, better health, longer life and decreased maternal and neo-natal death rates....Children exposed to books will look beyond a lack of material goods to a world of possibilities."

"Books saved my life," Yohannes says, after sharing his story about how exposure to books as a teenager opened his mind to a reality he had not previously known.

Freelance photographer J Carrier visited Awassa and Addis Ababa in July, and his beautiful photographs are a stunning compliment to Melissa's story. The above photo shows what went on behind the scenes as he captured the procession of Queen Helina and the Donkey Mobile Library through a rural enclave on the outskirts of Awassa. Children came running from every direction, as did curious adults -- even goats, dogs and chickens!

Thanks to GOOD HOUSEKEEPING Magazine for publishing this article, and thanks to our friend Melissa Fay Greene for letting the world know about individuals and organizations working on behalf of children everywhere. Melissa is the author of the groundbreaking book There is No Me Without You, which introduced millions of readers to the plight of Ethiopian children orphaned by and living with HIV/AIDS.

Ethiopia Reads' mission is to create a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books. Our supporters include readers, writers, educators, librarians, children, grandparents -- anyone who shares our belief that books do make a difference in the lives of children. We're delighted that you found us!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Chavel's Library and Learning Center, One of Five New Libraries Now Open!

In February, Ethiopia Reads opened the doors on five new libraries in Addis Ababa. These new libraries were opened in partnership with government schools and sponsors in the United States, who provided the funding for books, furniture, staff and training. The libraries are all open six days a week. Since opening, each has attracted hundreds of children every day.

At Chavel's Library and Learning Center, pictured here, boys and girls from Yewket Fana Elementary School are drawn by 2,000 books in English as well as local Ethiopian languages. This colorful, light-filled room is a gift from Noel and Tamara Cunningham of Denver, Colorado.

Other libraries are now open in:

Atse Na-Od Primary and Secondary Public School, a gift from Books for Life International of Wichita, Kansas.

Dejach Belay Zeleke No. 1 Elementary and Secondary Public School, a gift made in Memory of Yemegnushal Haile by Behailu Mekbib of San Francisco, CA.

Agazian No. 2 Elementary Public School , a gift from Lily, Ramah & Matthan Lakew of CA, in fond memory of Dr. Dawit Fassil.

Ethiopia Andenet Elementary and Junior Secondary Public School, a gift from the Meredith Family of San Francisco, California.

At least five more libraries are due this fall.

When in Addis, please visit our libraries!

Thanks to all of our library sponsors for these wonderful gifts.

Traveling to Ethiopia? Join the TAKE ONE BOOK Campaign

Take One Book Literacy Campaign for Ethiopia

One book can change a life. That is what Ethiopia Reads founder Yohannes Gebregiorgis discovered at 19 years of age when he held his first book. Now you have the opportunity to change a life through Ethiopia Reads’ “TAKE ONE BOOK” campaign. In recognition of the Millenium celebration in Ethiopia this year we are committed to donating at least 2,000 books to children in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Reads, founded in 2003, works to improve literacy and create a culture of reading in Ethiopia. We do this by planting libraries and publishing books in local languages as well as offering continuing education programs to help educators in Ethiopia nurture a love of reading.

Since Ethiopia Reads opened Ethiopia’s first free children’s library in 2003, thousands of children have experienced the joy of reading. The library received 60,000 visits to the library in 2006. Ethiopia Reads sees first hand the difference that one library, ONE BOOK, and one story can make in the life of a child.

If you or someone you know is traveling to Ethiopia during 2007, Ethiopia Reads challenges you to TAKE ONE BOOK with you, because we believe that education is hope and books can change lives. Books can be dropped off at the Shola Children’s Library in Addis Ababa. Shola is located in Beklo-Bet, behind the Dashen Bank off of Debre Zeit road.

If you are not traveling this year but want to make a difference in Ethiopia, we are collecting books in Washington, DC to send over with other travellers. Books can be dropped at Zethiopia’s office at 11th and U Street, NW.

For more information on the TAKE ONE BOOK campaign, please contact Catie Dupont at or Katie Douglas at


Suggested book list:

1. Any type of non-fiction books are appreciated.

2. Suggested fiction titles:

· Baby Baboon
· Crafty Chameleon
· Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, by Verna Aardema
· Bringing the Rain to Kaputi Plain
· Anansi Does the Impossible
· Kaldi and the Dancing Goats, the story of Ethiopian Coffee
· Anansi and the Talking Melon
· Anansi the Spider
· Babu’s Song
· Fatuma’s New Cloth
· My Rows and Piles of Coins
· Once Upon a Time
· What’s Cooking Jamela
· The Day Gogo Went to Vote
· Silly Mammo
· Aida
· Kings and Queens of West Africa
· Sundiata: The Lion King
· Seven Spools of Thread
· Journey to Jo’Burg
· Saba: Under the Hyena’s Foot
· Storytellers’ Beads
· Moonlight Bride
· The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Child
· The Other Side of Truth
· Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope
· Weep not Child
· Song of Lawino, Song of Ocol
· Purple Hibiscus
· So Long a Letter
· Nervous Conditions
· No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
· The Magic Gourd
· Bintou’s Braids
· My Great Grandmother’s Gourd
· Tutankhamen’s Gift
· No Turning Back
· Hatshepsut: His Majesty Herself
· Year of No Rain
· Many Stones
· The Ugly Goddess
· Beduin’s Gazelle
· Mother to Mother
· Midaq Alley
· Dreams of Trespass

*Visit for more children’s books related to life in Africa

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ethiopia's President Girma Meets with Ethiopia Reads

On Tuesday, January 9, Ethiopia Reads' was honored to meet with Ethiopia's President Girma Woldegiorgis.

President Girma invted Ethiopia Reads Executive Director Yohannes Gebregeorgis to the Presidential Palace to talk about Ethiopia Reads' efforts to increase literacy in Ethiopia.

President Girma was very gracious with both his time and interest, and expressed support for Ethiopia Reads. He agreed to participate in Ethiopan Children's Book Week, a festival of children's literacy which takes to the streets in Addis Ababa April 1-7.

Preisdent Girma's involvement is just one of many exciting developments surrounding Book Week. Ethiopia Reads is launching Ethiopia Reads Book Week in the United States, with events, fundraisers and projects throghout the country. The American festival will culminate with a series of special events in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to President Girma for his support of Ethiopia Reads! We are honored to include this leader among our growing network of friends and supporters.

Dejache Geneme: Another Ethiopia Reads library ready to open!

Dejach Geneme Primary and Junior Secondary School, the second school to be fully sponsored by Ethiopia Reads, will open in January.

Dejach Geneme is a public school running from grade 1 to grade 8 with 1802 students. Ethiopia Reads provides the school with all the librarian training, furniture and books of different kinds, in both English and local Ethiopian languages.

Other schools scheduled to open in January include:

Chavel's Library and Learning Center at Yewket Fana Elementary and Junior Secondary School, a gift of Noel and Tamara Cunningham of Denver, Colorado

Atse Na-od Primary and Secondary Public Scool, a gfit of Trees for Life, a non-profit organization based in Wichita, Kansas.

Shola Children's Library Welcomes Students from the French American International School of San Francisco

Here's a report from our staff in Addis Ababa:

Friday 22nd December was the happiest day for the children of Shola Children’s Library.

Students of the French American International School of San Francisco, who came to Ethiopia for humanitarian purposes, came to Shola Children’s Library to spend some time with the children in the library.

Lena Yesowhich, Leland Kusmer, Jake Moritz Cary Jones, Drew Peltler, Gabriela de Golia, accompanied by their Elizabeth Cleere, parents and staff of their host organization, Save the Children U.S.A, visited Shola Children’s Library and spent 2 hours with the children.

The volunteers participated in different activities, such as reading storybooks, singing songs and playing games with the children.

One of the volunteers, Gabriela de Golia, gave art class for eight children for an hour and half.

Volunteers also helped with book sorting.

More photos of the students working in the library can be seen on our photo album. Click on the small photo album icon to see our galleries of photos!