World Reader and St Jordi’s Day in Barcelona

w reader


We had just met with Zev from the World Reader organisation at a World Literacy Foundation conference in Oxford. Some concepts just make sense form the start and this was our feelings for World Reader.

It works by loading a Kindle with over 300 books taking to Africa, direct to communities where the children have the chance to read! No more expensive lorry loads of slightly used books trying to find their way across the continent and then being stopped and refused entry.

This scheme actually works! You just need a small mind shift to know that children in Africa can access Kindles and benefit hugely from the supply of information at their fingertips.


The inquiring and smiling faces says it all. World Reader projects has some excellent photos. Read the stories of how empowering this project is for the whole family, Daniel and his grandmother are just one example.

We were invited to World Reader‘s new office celebrations and also to mark their ambition to get 1 million books into Africa. How amazing is that!

la ramblaOn St Jordi’s day in Barcelona the streets were full, the tradition is to mark the day of their patron saint by sharing gifts; the man to buy the woman a flower and the woman to buy the man a book.

At the SmithMartin Partnership we were delighted to celebrate with World Reader and look forward to being involved. It parallels and brings into one, our work with communities, children’s literature and modern technology solutions.

Sue Martin

SmithMartin Partnership LLP Inspiring communities and Broadening Horizons

Dolphin Booksellers– the best in children’s books always on line

Practical wisdom, now more than ever…

We recently revisited the Gel talk, by Professor Barry Schwartz, of Swarthmore College, from the Gel Conference 2009.

This presentation is about the need to embrace, or rather re-embrace, the notion expounded by Aristotle of practical wisdom. The classical idea of ‘virtue’, which is refracted through our modern life experiences and emerges as ‘practical wisdom’ or phronesis

Barry Schwartz at Gel 2009 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

The short film above offers a view of this process, or rather how, in the current economic and socially turbulent times, we have lost or missed the key elements of wisdom in our dealings with each other, the institutions we serve or the people we entreat with.

The ideas expressed are as telling now as they ever were during the banking crisis of 2009.

Educators and childcare specialists can also find insight in Barry Schwartz’s talk – offering some interesting observations, as it does on teaching, rules in childcare settings and the difficulties of parenting.

The key message in the talk is perhaps that, following crises, we seek to implement more and more rules to prevent the crisis recurring. The stronger and stronger reliance on rules, Schwartz argues, ultimately deprives us of the moral skill to successfully negotiate our day to day relationships.

This key idea, having the moral will to do right, is intimately linked in this argument to developing the moral skills necessary to do the right thing.

As the shoot from the hip, reactive policy changes in current education, social care, health and charitable environments occur, it is easy to find parallels in the arguments presented by Schwarz.

What is missing, it can be argued, is the moral will of the actions taken. What effect does this have on a person, on a people, not only on the process, not only on the institution.

Professor Schwartz delivers his points in a humorous and easily understood way – making the power and challenge in his arguments even more telling. See what you think…

(What is Gel? “Short for “Good Experience Live”, Gel is a conference and community exploring good experience in all its forms – in art, business, technology, society, and life”. See more on the Gel website here.)