Book Dash began in 2014 as a vision project among friends who wished to pool their collective skills in the publishing industry to flood the country with new, high-quality, affordable African storybooks. The first Book Dash events were held in May and June in Cape Town. Heartened by the quality of the books and the enthusiasm of the creative volunteers, co-founders Arthur Attwell, Michelle Matthews and Tarryn-Anne Anderson established Book Dash as a registered not-for-profit, voluntary association with the aim of continuing to create, print and distribute more books to children – and to prove that high-quality books in many languages can be affordably produced and distributed.
The finely-tuned and continually-perfected Book Dash model has the potential to revolutionise local content-creation and access to books in South Africa and in under-resourced communities worldwide.
Recognition for Book Dash
Since its inception, Book Dash has received recognition for both our innovative book creation model, and the social impact of the work we do.
‘Innovation in early education’ global scale-up award 2023
Book Dash selected as one of three winners of Theirworld‘s “Innovation in Early Education Awards to support scale up!
The award includes grant funding, mentoring and masterclasses to help us expand our work to reach even more children. Proof that brave ideas and determination can change the world.
World Literacy Summit 2023
We presented at the World Literacy Summit and were shortlisted for a World Literacy Award. Book Dash’s model for creating high-quality, relevant children’s books very quickly and cost-effectively is a world first.
All the books made by our creative superheroes are licensed under a Creative Commons license and they’re used by over 100 organisations worldwide to support literacy development and increase impact. This is what we shared with the delegates at the 2023 World Literacy Summit in Oxford. Book Dash was also shortlisted for the award for Contribution to Literacy by an Organisation.
Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023
Book Dash was invited to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. On the 6th and 7th of March 2023, we showed off our unique publishing approach to the world at the 60th edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy.
Two teams of African writers, illustrators and designers worked to create brand new picturebooks at the world’s pre-eminent children’s book fair. We left them in awe!
We were also given a spot on the official programme to share the books with the audience and discuss the unique creative process. Julia also appeared on the panel discussion of the Global Network for Early Year’s Bookgifting; she’s a member of the Working Group.
CSI Legacy Awards 2023
Book Dash’s work was selected as a finalist in the category for “Best Rising NGO” in the CSI Legacy Awards, hosted by CSR News.
Book Dash’s creativity, bold vision and growth in reach was noted in the shortlisting process. Our newest Board members, Jabulile Nosi (FNB) and Boitumelo Khunou (ClassAct) represented Book Dash at the event.
2021 Nedbank Private Wealth Innovation Award
Book Dash was selected from among 150 organisations as the winner of the 2021 Nedbank Private Wealth Innovation Award.
The two innovations that the judges highlighted as particularly impactful were our virtual book creation events and our increased distribution of printed books to chlidren through partnering with organisations that sent our books out to families together with food parcels and education packs during national lockdowns.
Digital Public Goods
Book Dash is honoured to announce that our collection of books has been vetted as one of the inaugural Digital Public Goods in the Foundational Literacy and Early Grade Reading category.
ALMA Award Nomination
Book Dash was thrilled to hear that we’re among the 2021 nominees for the largest literacy promotion award on the planet: The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award!
Library of Congress Best Practice Honoree
In September Book Dash 2020 was recognised as one of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Best Practice Honorees for 2020. The Literacy Awards honour organisations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work. Book Dash was one of 15 organisations honoured for its implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. It was the only African organisation to receive this recognition this year.
Global Network for Early Years Bookgifting
In 2019, Book Dash was welcomed as a member of the EU Read Global Network for Early Years Bookgifting. This is a network of organisations around the world that promote the best practise of bookgifting to young children. The network was established to foster shared learning, inspiration and innovation among the members. Currently, Book Dash is the only member from the African continent.
Community Chest Impumelelo Social Innovation Awards
Book Dash was honoured to be selected as the “Disruptor of the Year” at the 2019 Community Chest Impumelelo Social Innovations Awards. This award recognises the innovation of our game-changing publishing process and distribution methods, to vastly reduce costs involved in creating and getting high-quality, local books to all children. We’re motivated by this recognition as we move towards our next goal of a million books by the end of 2020, and closer to a world where every child owns one hundred books by the age of five.
Open Publishing Awards
“The judges were simply blown away with the publishing model and how this project leverages open to achieve such an enormous impact with very few resources.”
South African Early Childhood Development Awards
The National Development Agency awarded Book Dash the “Best ECD Publication of the year” in 2015 for Tortoise finds his home.
MTN App of the Year Awards
In 2019, the Book Dash App was a Top 3 finalist in the Education category of the MTN App of the Year Awards. Our app has more than 100,000 downloads, and people around the world love reading our books there.