Read The World 

Read The World is an international response to the isolation imposed on children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative is a collaboration between the International Publishers Association (IPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

IPA UNICEF WHO logo cloud

The three partners wanted to do something positive by bringing children and their favourite writers closer, to stimulate their interest in books and to create a carefree moment for families to share during this difficult period of confinement.

Read The World takes place in support of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, powered by the United Nations Foundation. Find out more at:

How does it work?

Popular children’s authors read extracts of their books live or recorded via their social media accounts or recorded. The readings are typically around 15 minutes maximum, with a brief introduction beforehand, and afterwards time to respond to comments. 

Authors and the partners promote the readings on their social media channels using the hashtags #ReadTheWorld #HealthyAtHome and #Covid19. 


Read The World goals 

ENTERTAIN: Spark excitement around reading and encourage kids to see books as a fun, healthy way to make use of their time in confinement.

INSPIRE: Bring children closer to the minds that created their favourite books, and show that even when the world is off limits, nothing can stop us exploring it with our minds.

COMFORT: Provide a special moment that families under pressure can look forward to and share from the safety of their home.

INFORM: Deliver some simple facts about healthy actions and behaviours, especially during lockdown and COVID-19 emergency.


Read The World is not the first collaboration between the United Nations and the IPA. In 2018 the two bodies joined forces to launch the SDG Book Club, an initiative to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through an international book club for children. See the IPA’s announcement here.

Through the IPA, the world’s publishing community supports the SDGs as an investment in future generations of leaders, innovators and agents of change. The Book Club initiative will put the spotlight on books as a tool to encourage children and young people to interact with the principles of the SDGs through a curated reading list of key children’s books related to each of the 17 SDGs. This list includes titles for each SDG in all six official UN languages to start.

If you are an author or publisher ready to get involved by helping us set up a reading, please get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


These readings, their recording and continued availability here have been kindly authorized by the copyright owners. The International Publishers Association and its partners are very grateful to the authors and publishers for their collaboration. We will add more readings as they take place. 

See all the readings in the playlist below (click on the button in top right hand corner to scroll through).

Elisabetta Dami
Title: The Kingdom of Fantasy
Language: English

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Elisabetta Dami
Title: Il piccolo libro della gentilezza
Language: Italian

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Cressida Cowell
Title: How to Train Your Dragon
Language: English

Cressida Cowell



Fatima Sharafeddine
Title: Adel’s Colourful Birds
Language: Arabic

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Howard Donald
Title: My Hero is You - how kids can fight Covid-19
Language: English
Howard Donald of UK band Take That reads 'My Hero is You - how kids can fight Covid-19', in association with #ReadTheWorld. The book was developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG) in response to children’s mental health and psychosocial needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. Over 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world took the time to share how they were coping with the pandemic. This is a story developed for and by children around the world. 
WATCH on WHO YouTube channel 

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Claire Culliford
Title: Paula Helps Prevent Air Pollution
Language: English

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Andy Stanton
Title: Mr Gum and the Goblins (full book)
Language: English

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Roger Mello
Title: Contradança
Language: Portuguese

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Ursula Dubosarsky
Title: The Terrible Plop
Language: English

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Fernanda de Oliveira
Title: Lila e Matilha em: A horta Guolseima
Language: Portuguese

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Fernanda de Oliveira
Title: Fê Liz & Zoic
Language: Portuguese

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Julia Donaldson
Title: The Cook and the King
Language: English

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Maria Teresa Andruetto
Title: Solgo
Language: Spanish

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Coming soon:  

7 May: Andy Durant (UK)
12 May: Claire Lecoeuvre (France)
14 May: Jackie French (Australia)
19 May: Regina Drummond (Brazil)
21 May: ‘Sola Akinsolu, Tade Adegbindin, and Bade Ojuade (Nigeria)
26 May: Françoise Rogier (Belgium)

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