Stories surround us. Before books, scrolls, tablets, cave walls and even our species’ ability to communicate, we used stories to teach, to show, to represent. Every fable, every legend, every tall tale and epic provide a colourful glimpse into the history and explore human creativity. Heroes and villains leap from the imaginations of storytellers and represent the worst and best of humanity with their actions and conflict. To partake in storytelling is to invest in one’s culture and nothing lasts without investment.
When written language replaced cave drawings, it gave birth to documentation – a method to preserve the past. In an effort to organise collections of documents, libraries were built. After the printing press was invented, books and pages slowly replaced the scrolls and tablets lining the library shelves. The modern era brought with it digitisation, computerisation and a new world behind screens, accessible through touch alone.
Through the ages, storytelling formed a large part of many childhoods. The stories told to children – the books made for them – are fantastical and idealised with larger than life figures or everyday people accomplishing inspiring feats and assuming positions of power. As impressionable as children are, they see themselves in the books they read and as such believe themselves capable of many things – an important quality.
However, in the western world, less than 25% of published books feature people of colour and indigenous descent. Simone Adjei and Elisha Carlos seek to change this with their startup: iReadify. The principle behind the work of these two accomplished educators is closing the glaring gap in representation in children’s books and showing black, latin and indigenous children reflections of themselves in books – and positive ones at that.
In the future, iReadify plans to launch a digital library accessible around the globe that compiles books made by BIPOC authors about BIPOC characters for BIPOC children. To this cause, the founders have partnered with numerous authors of diverse backgrounds to feature their books when the website is launched. In providing such content, Adjei and Carlos believe children will see themselves and people who look like them and be instilled with that all important desire to reach the skies.
iReadify, a multicultural children’s book company created for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). The company will launch in December 2020.
We have partnered with several book publishers to bring audiobooks representing Black, Indigenous and People of Colour to the general public. We need your support to get 10,000 books on the website.