Last week I had the excitement of finally meeting the amazing team behind Book Dash (http://bookdash.org/).
Book Dash is an innovative organisation based in Cape Town. They gather together professional authors, illustrators and designers for a day of stimulation, fun and learning; A day of stimulation, fun and learning through the somewhat stressful process of creating a finished book in a day! With a team of, sometimes, complete strangers! What is more, once these unique, African Story books are created, they are freely available for translation and distribution as open source documents. Magical. They also arrange funding for printing of the books and distribute real copies to disadvantaged children around South Africa. More magic.
As their website explains: ‘Children in South Africa need more books, but they cost too much purchased from publishers. The cheapest books have no publisher – then the only cost is printing.’
To date they have written, illustrated and designed an impressive number of books, but the process doesn’t end after the Book Dash days themselves; which is where I got involved.
Part of a publishers role is of course to edit, proof read and final check all the books with ISBN codes, logos etc. Without an official publisher, this too becomes the role of Book Dash, but with so many books and a small core team, it makes sense to enroll more volunteers for this process. To this end, myself, the Book Dash Team (of three), a Designer and two volunteers, one from Oxford University Press, spent an evening checking and rechecking all of these details ourselves (yes, alright, with wine, food and chocolate too!). It was great fun and very rewarding to be a part of the process, albeit the less glamorous aspects, and there will probably be more to come, so keep an eye on their website and sign up to their newsletter too!
For access to the books created see here: http://bookdash.org/see/books/ – Remember to credit appropriately if you choose to use them.