The United States Board on Books for Young People has nominated Jane Kurtz for the IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award. The IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award, established by the Shenzhen iRead Foundation and IBBY, “encourages a real commitment to the cause of reading promotion in the hope of spreading this dedication to others around the globe.” It honors “outstanding individuals who are working to promote the expansion and development of children’s reading.“ Jane Kurtz works to improve the literacy of children, the culture around literacy, and the infrastructure supporting literacy development in Ethiopia and around the globe.
Jane grew up in rural Ethiopia and is uniquely positioned to understand the need for grassroots efforts anchored in Ethiopia with multi-pronged approaches to promoting literacy. With a network of relationships to enable the success of these efforts, she has created over 100 bilingual books and developed connections at organizational and governmental levels in Ethiopia, including establishing libraries, speaking at conferences, and recruiting local authors.
Jane’s work with literacy addresses the challenges of multiple official languages; lack of books reflecting Ethiopian culture, history, and landscape; obstacles in the translation, publication, and distribution process; and insufficient professional opportunities for educators and librarians. Jane partners with Ethiopia Reads and Open Hearts Big Dreams, using Ready Set Go Books to create an innovative pathway for book creation, translation, distribution, and use that addresses these issues. In addition to her work in literacy, she is a successful author of global picturebooks, speaker at global conferences, and mentor for emerging authors. Her vision has opened the lens for reading promotion as an inspiration for other projects around the world.
Committee members who compiled the nomination material that was submitted to IBBY are Committee Chair Kathy G. Short, Susan Corapi, and Meredith Davis. For additional information, contact the United States Board on Books for Young People at: email@example.com.
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