“Books Say Welcome”: Book Sector Launches Initiative For Refugees
Announced at the International Literacy Day on September 8, 2015, the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, the Frankfurt Book Fair and LitCam have introduced a joint initiative for refugees called “Books Say Welcome”. It aims to give refugees quick and easy access to educational and reading material. At the heart of the programme is its goal to establish various Reading and Learning Corners in the immediate vicinity of refugee housing.
The Reading and Learning Corners are supplied with books and educational materials – not just German textbooks, dictionaries and encyclopedias, but also novels and non-fiction books in relevant foreign languages. Publishers drew up lists of recommendations, and experienced literacy experts – including renowned Professor of Developmental Psychology Wassilios E. Fthenakis – selected the materials.
“Refugees come to Germany with a wide range of qualifications. By providing easy access to educational and reading material, we want to enable them to adjust individually to the new challenges – by learning German, for example – but also to find a moment of distraction and diversion. Together with our team of experts and various refugee projects, we are trying to put together a selection of books that correspond to the refugees’ respective circumstances and needs”, says Karin Plötz, Director of LitCam.
Thanks to the Education Ministry of Hesse and further foundations, the "Books Say Welcome" programme will be expanded to schools with integration classes for refugee children as well.