Posts Tagged ‘literacy’

Venezuela’s International Book Fair arrives in Caracas tomorrow. It has toured all 24 of the country’s states, and makes its final stop Friday in Parque Los Caobos.

The fourth annual event involves more than just the buying and selling of books — it also includes educational events and workshops on a wealth of topics, including science fiction writing, fantasy literature, and publishing alternative media. More than 400 writers and artists from 20 countries are participating, as well as 150 different publishers.

The International Book Fair celebrates the achievements of the many thousands of students and educators who helped make Venezuela an “illiteracy free territory” in 2003. Social programs in education have indeed increased the country’s demand for books.

The President of the National Book Center, Marisela Guevara, says the fair shows that Venezuela is becoming “a nation of readers.” Read more in Spanish here.


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A new and innovative children’s book from Venezuela has just come out in English and is delighting U.S. readers both young and old. It is called “The Black Book of Colors” (El libro negro de los colores).

The story, by authors Menena Cotin and Rosana Faria, offers a vibrant description of colors — for example, “red is sour like unripe strawberries and as sweet as watermelon.” Textured pictures and braille make the book thrillingly accessible to young people who are visually impaired.

The School Library Journal calls it “Fascinating, beautifully designed, and possessing broad child appeal, this book belongs on the shelves of every school or public library committed to promoting disability awareness and accessibility.” Want to know more? Check out a Washington Post review, see more pictures, or buy it on Amazon.

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Sontizon is a salsa-infused hip hop collective that offers listeners more than just a sound: it offers them a vision.

The group got a slow start in 2000 and later re-grouped in 2002 after an aborted coup d’etat in Venezuela. The title of its new album, “For each 11th there is a 13th” (A cada 11 le llega su trece), refers to the day in April when citizens poured into the streets to demand the return of their democratically elected government. You can listen to songs from the album on Sontizon’s MySpace page or buy the CD through this site.

Sontizon does not hide its ideology; the group believes in creating a just and sustainable society, and wants to do so by uniting communities through music and helping people — especially youth — to improve their lives.

This is the basis for Sontizon’s work with Tiuna el Fuerte, a hip hop-inspired organization designed to promote people’s empowerment through “endogenous” (that is, inward-focused) development. Based in a poor area of Caracas, Tiuna el Fuerte creates safe spaces for free artistic expression. It also helps people meet their most basic needs by connecting them with free social services in areas like education, health care, and nutrition.

Sontizon’s own passion for education led them to sing about the state literacy program Misión Robinson. In the video below, you can watch them perform the song at the Teresa Carreno Theater in Caracas during a presidential address.

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Venezuela celebrated World Book Day last Wednesday, April 23rd. Events in Caracas included readings of poems by Miguel Otero Silva (1908-1985) and a lecture by one of Venezuela’s most famous living poets, Ramón Palomares.

Now, the cultural center funded by the state oil company PDVSA is hosting a book fair at which hundreds of titles ranging from popular fiction to educational texts will be available to the public at low costs.

The idea behind the book fair is to democratize access to cultural production in Venezuela. Article 98 of the constitution reads: “Cultural creation is free. This freedom includes the right to invest in, produce and disseminate creative, scientific, technical and humanistic work.”

Several state programs have been created in Venezuela to promote reading and education, such as the literacy program Mision Robinson and the book publisher El Perro y la Rana. Last year, a university in Merida began sending mobile libraries out to rural communities using mules! Read a BBC article here.

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