Bringing the outside world to the world’s children

COVID-19 is forcing many children to stay home. The #ReadtheWorld initiative aims to help them feel less isolated.

Cambodia. A child holds up a book.

Almost 90 per cent of the world’s students are now affected by nationwide school closures due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – that’s more than 1.5 billion children and young people. Combined with the physical distancing being practiced across the globe it’s not surprising that many young people are feeling more isolated, anxious and uncertain.

With so much of the outside world currently out of bounds, the #ReadtheWorld initiative will bring the creative and imaginative world of children’s stories into the lives of children across the world. As part of a collaboration between UNICEF, the International Publishers Association, and the World Health Organization, popular children’s authors will read extracts of their books to millions of children and young people currently living in isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative kicked off on 2 April, International Children’s Book Day, with a reading by Italian author Elisabetta Dami, creator of Geronimo Stilton


Alan Durant reads from his book 'Quill Soup'


UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore reads 'Olivia', by Ian Falconer


Julia Donaldson performs a version of her book 'The Cook and the King'


Ishmael Beah reads 'The Day You Begin', by Jacqueline Woodson


Cressida Cowell reads Chapter 15 of 'How to Train Your Dragon'


Andy Stanton reads 'Mr. Gum and the Goblins'


Roger Mello reads 'Controdança'


Fatima Sharafeddine reads 'Adel's Coloured Birds'


Claire Culliford reads 'Paula Helps Prevent Air Pollution'


Ursula Dubosarsky reads 'The Terrible Plop'

Watch all the latest readings here.