Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the global climate crisis publishers and organisations from across the book sector will come together at Bologna Children’s Book Fair to celebrate the completion of the Sustainable Development Goals Book Club and its 17 reading lists for children focusing on peace, ending poverty, protecting life on land and many more.

With more than 300 books for children in the six official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Russian, Spanish) as well as five offshoots (and counting) covering Africa, Norway, Brazil, Portugal and Indonesia, the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Book Club returns to Bologna as it publishes its final reading lists and announces a collaboration with the reading platform SIMBI.

A panel discussion SDG Book Club: from reading to taking action on the 17 SDGs is scheduled for 9:15 am on Tuesday 22 March at the Authors’ Café and will feature Dusanka Stojakovic (New Africa Books, South Africa), Antje Watermann (UN Publications), Emma House (Simbi) and Raluca Selejan (Two Owls Bookshop, Romania).

The SDG Book Club will also be celebrated at London Book Fair on Tuesday 5 April at 14:00 with the session SDG Book Club: How important is sustainability in Children’s literature featuring Olatoun Gabi Williams (Borders Literature for all Nations), IPA Vice President Karine Pansa and Irina Lumelsky (UN Publications).

Irina Lumelsky, Acting head of UN Publications said: SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions was one of the last SDGs we added to our reading lists but never has it felt so timely. We need peace, just like we need to end poverty and reduce inequalities. Books play such a valuable role in helping our children to understand the issues of our time and to learn how they can contribute to a more sustainable and peaceful world.

Michiel Kolman, Chair of the IPA’s Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee: When we started the SDG Book Club we knew that there were lots of great books out there for children to learn about the crucial issues facing our future. The current war in Ukraine and the climate crisis really put that into sharp focus. The complete SDG Book Club should be a valuable resource for parents and teachers everywhere.

Julie Belgrado, Director of the EIBF: These reading lists are such a compelling collection of books. I’m sure booksellers everywhere will see them as a perfect way for guiding children and their parents to books that help explain challenges that we cannot shy away from.

Liz Page, Executive Director of IBBY: It has been so inspirational to see the SDG Book Club grow from an ambitious idea to a comprehensive list of brilliant books for children about some of the biggest challenges we face. A big thank you to SIMBI for teaming up with us to celebrate this great collection.

Barbara Lison, President of IFLA: Bringing together this wonderful collection of books is not the end but just the beginning. We now need to get these books – and many others like them – into the hands of as many children as possible, helping them to become literate, informed and engaged citizens.

Elena Pasoli, Director of Bologna Children’s Book Fair: All of us who attend Bologna Children’s Book Fair know the power books have on children. We can only hope that children everywhere are able to read these books and build a more peaceful and sustainable future for all of us.

Aaron Friedland, CEO and Co-Founder of Simbi said “Simbi strives to motivate children to read more books, more often by giving them a powerful reason to read. The SDG Book Club publishers and supporters have built a library of books that truly matter, and together we can bring these stories to all children?, everywhere.  Join young readers from around the world in a global Read-A-Thon; These powerful and important stories will encourage children around the world in following their reading journey to learn about the SDGs in a fun, engaging, and impactful way. Our vision is to empower readers to become lifelong learners and leaders. Together, we know we can accomplish this.”


About the SDG Book Club

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Book Club was launched at Bologna International Childrens Book Fair in 2019 and aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list of books from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

The book club was created by the United Nations in cooperation with the International Publishers Association (IPA), the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the International Board for Books for Young People (IBBY) and Bologna Children’s Book Fair. 


About the SDGs

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by world leaders at the historic Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. Encompassing everything from health, to gender equality, and education, the Goals will mobilize efforts around the world to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. 


About SIMBI  

Through a deeply engaging, impactful, & pedagogical approach, Simbi is the only digital library to motivate students to read, listen to, and narrate books with the goals of improving not only their reading skills, but that of the readers as well, including students in remote and refugee communities. Students’ narrated stories can be shared to educate others around the world as they in turn learn to read. Trusted by educators across 85 countries, Simbi brings joy, meaning and global citizenship to reading. Learn more ad