ATG Book of the Week: Ending Book Hunger: Access to Print Across Barriers of Class and Culture

by | Feb 27, 2020 | 0 comments

Title: Ending Book Hunger: Access to Print Across Barriers of Class and Culture
Author: Lea Shaver
Hardcover: 978-0300226003, $20
Imprint: New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020

An eye-opening exploration of “book hunger”—the unmet need for books in underserved communities—and efforts to universalize access to print

Worldwide, billions of people suffer from book hunger. For them, books are too few, too expensive, or do not even exist in their languages. Lea Shaver argues that this is an educational crisis: the most reliable predictor of children’s achievement is the size of their families’ book collections.

This book highlights innovative nonprofit solutions to expand access to print. First Book, for example, offers diverse books to teachers at bargain prices. Imagination Library mails picture books to support early literacy in book deserts. Worldreader promotes mobile reading in developing countries by turning phones into digital libraries. Pratham Books creates open access stories that anyone may freely copy, adapt, and translate. Can such efforts expand to bring books to the next billion would-be readers? Shaver reveals the powerful roles of copyright law and licensing, and sounds the clarion call for readers to contribute their own talents to the fight against book hunger.”


“A timely call to solve an urgent problem. Shaver exposes book hunger as a problem of critical importance to education, opportunity, and the elimination of poverty… and offers solutions.”—Dave Wilkinson, former Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and Executive Director of the Tobin Center for Economic Policy at Yale University

“Shaver gives critical attention to one of the pressing human rights challenges of our time: unequal access to books and educational materials for a majority of the world.”—Madhavi Sunder, author ofFrom Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice

Ending Book Hunger is fresh and exciting, and the perspective of a human rights and IP lawyer is original. Shaver comprehensively addresses the problem of global book scarcity and proposes solutions in a readable and engaging manner.”—Jessica M. Silbey, Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law and author of The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators and Intellectual Property

“In graceful and compelling prose, Lea Shaver emphasizes the fact that too many across the world lack access to books. Shining a light on this critical aspect of access to knowledge, Shaver offers necessary concepts and models to achieve a world where every child has the books she needs to learn and grow.”—Anupam Chander, author of The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World Together in Commerce

“I was deeply moved by Lea Shaver’s engaging introduction to the problem of book hunger around the world. It’s also a powerful call to action, as Shaver explores how we can bring about a world where every person is served by publishing models that prioritize inclusion and accessibility.”—John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars

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