Can you picture growing up without any children’s books? Without a library or book store? And even if you were lucky enough to have access to children’s books, none of the stories were about your own culture? This is the reality for most children in Mozambique.

In Mozambique, stories are passed on from generation to generation through oral storytelling. Previously this Mozambican folklore did not exist in a written format, let alone in any native tribal languages. Some printed children’s books do exist within Mozambique, but they are not available to the majority of children throughout the country, and none of them are based on culturally relevant Mozambican stories.

The lack of children’s books in Mozambique is coupled with a high degree of illiteracy. There are nearly 17 million school-aged youth in Mozambique, of which 70% are illiterate. Engaging, culturally relevant children’s books can play an important role in contributing to a broader focus on literacy.