Literacy Partners Launches “Unreadable Books” Campaign to Raise Awareness and Support for the 1 in 5 New Yorkers who are Unable to Read

Literacy Partners, NYC’s premiere education nonprofit, announced the launch of its “Unreadable Books” campaign, a bookstore activation designed to raise awareness and support for the 1 in 5 New Yorkers who are unable to read. Now in its second year, the campaign was developed to provide book lovers with a graphic example of what life is like when reading is a struggle.

To do this, Literacy Partners has redesigned the dust jackets of 12 bestselling books, jumbling the words to make them unreadable. Thus, Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give becomes “Het Ahet U Evig,” Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code becomes “The Ad Viicn Oced” and Ingrid Roja Contreras’ Fruit of The Drunken Tree becomes “Frtui fo het Drenkun Eter.” Other participating authors are Tayari Jones, Patricia Cornwell, Warren Adler, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Rakesh Satyal, Ashton Applewhite, Mark Isaacs, Ken Follett and Sayu Bhojwani.

The full set of Unreadable Books will be on display tomorrow through Monday at booksellers McNally Jackson in Brooklyn and Mysterious Books in Manhattan. The books will also be at a Literacy Partners stand in Union Square on Sunday. Information on the back of the books provides details on how to support the Literacy Partners mission. Supporters can donate by texting “literacy” to 44-321 or scanning a bespoke barcode on the covers. The campaign was developed by Literacy Partners in alliance with its creative agency The&Partnership.

“It’s incredibly difficult for people who know how to read to imagine what it’s like to not be able to make sense of even basic written information, much less things like rental agreements, legal documents and medical instructions,” said Anthony Tassi, CEO at Literacy Partners. “With Unreadable Books we’re hoping to connect with people who love reading to inspire them to support their fellow New Yorkers who are trying to learn. We are honored to have the support of 12 phenomenal authors for this year’s activation.”

Literacy Partners takes a two-generation approach to the issue of education, providing low-income and immigrant parents in New York City with free classes to develop the literacy and language skills they need to succeed in today’s world. The organization’s research-based curriculum also incorporates child development and parenting support to help parents boost their children’s early reading, school readiness, and social-emotional growth. In this way, Literacy Partners breaks the cycle for families living in poverty.

Founded in 1975 and led for several decades by New York Post columnist Liz Smith in partnership with fashion designer Arnold Scaasi and publishing executive Parker Ladd, Literacy Partners has helped more than 27,000 students learn to read. The Unreadable Books campaign launches on the heels of Literacy Partners’ annual gala, which took place last night at Cipriani Wall Street and was headlined by Lesley Stahl, Preet Bharara and Tayari Jones with special appearances from Diane Sawyer, Naomi Wolf, Susan Minot, Jacqueline Woodson and Darnell Moore, among others.

The full list of titles in the Unreadable Books program are:

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Fruit of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Roja Contreras
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Chaos by Patricia Cornwell
  • The War of The Roses by Warren Adler
  • Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal
  • This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite
  • The Undesirables by Mark Isaacs
  • Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  • People Like Us by Sayu Bhojwani

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