Nick Johnson


Delivering a future of possibilities – one book at a time

I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been reading a book, I am an avid reader and have so much to thank authors for.

Time and time again, a book has come into my life and provided me with the answer I need just when I need it.  For me, books open up a world of possibilities and inspiration, and what is so special about them is that ordinary people create them by making a huge commitment to dedicate their time to write their books because they care deeply about the messages contained within them.

What we read shapes our world and shows us just what is possible and that is why I am passionate about supporting the work of Pelican Post, a specialist literacy charity dedicated to the distribution of appropriate children’s fiction to schools and supporting charities in Africa.

Pelican Post Map of AfricaTheir mission is to inspire and educate young minds in Africa by providing a channel that links schools, NGO’s, charities, authors, publishers and governmental departments together to help raise awareness of the significance of reading fiction in school classrooms.

They believe storytelling in classrooms is not only key to improving literacy uptake rates and driving down poverty but also invaluable in terms of developing a child’s own imagination, aspirations and sense of self identity and net worth.

Working with numerous charity and publishing partners they are dedicated to delivering brand new sets of appropriate children’s fiction so that teachers can practice shared classroom reading and children can discover the joy of reading.

It’s so important that children see people like themselves in the books that they read.  Picture books help enormously to give children a positive sense of self and personal value“…Verna Wilkins, Founder of Tamarind Books

Pelican Post Nick JohnsonThe scheme was launched in July 2009 and is the brainchild of Nick Johnson, who was initially inspired to do something to help literacy in Africa following his personal experiences of working in a school in Uganda with Raleigh International.

The Pelican Post Project is not supported or affiliated with any religious or political organisations. They are simply an online community with an ambitious goal to see what difference they can make to an identified group of communities through the internet.

“I think this scheme is wonderful and I am very keen to support this…What is also very appealing about the Pelican Post is that I think it is rather nice for children to be able to read stories that they can identify with”Alexander McCall Smith, Author

Shockingly, many children never experience the pleasure of reading a book together in a class, of looking at the pictures and words to follow a story, or of relating with the teacher afterwards what the story is about. As a result, many children don’t develop a real love for reading, their thirst for knowledge is frustrated, and a child’s imagination and aspirations are not given the same potential to develop and grow.

Not only that, but throughout Africa, local languages and dialects are still taught in schools as a child’s first language. However the lack of appropriate reading materials means that whilst many children may be able to speak their mother tongue, many leave school not being able to read or write in their own language. As a consequence, the ability to pass on a region or even nation’s heritage, culture and identify to future generations is dramatically being lost.

Pelican Post want to change all this through their latest initiative calledProject Kala.

So what is Project Kala?

Pelican Post handas-surpriseProject Kala (Keeping African Languages Alive) was established with the aim to print and distribute copies of an appropriate children’s early reader story in a local language.

Pelican Post Eileen BrownePelican Post have teamed up with Walker Booksand Crowdfunder to raise funds for their very first translation project which aims to distribute 3000 copies of Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne (Walker Books) in a bilingual edition of local language Fante and English to schools in the Elmina region of Ghana.

Find out all about it here:

How You Can Help

You could help Pelican Post enormously by spreading the word, telling your friends and family about #ProjectKALA and making a donation. Please share the video so they can get these books to as many young people as they possibly can.