CODE Enhances Literature Access in Africa

CODE (Canadian Organization for Development through Education) is based in Canada. Created to help international areas in need of education, CODE focuses on “advancing literacy and education” in areas in need (CODE). CODE started off by shipping unused books to schools in Africa because they saw a need and wanted to fill that need. Today, CODE supports international authors and continues to spread education to areas in need. In 2017, CODE launched an award for African Young Adult literature to better support authors and help them be heard in schools across Africa. To Kiss a Girl by Ruby Yayra Goka was the recipient of the award this year.

The CODE Burt Award is for African authors who write young adult fiction. “The objective of the prize is to champion literacy, build language skills, and foster the love and habit of reading by ensuring that young people have access to high-quality, culturally relevant, and engaging reading materials” (CODE). This award is helping children experience diverse, locally relevant literature in areas they may not have access to good education or books.

CODE also supports professional development for teachers, local publishing, and continues to donate books to libraries in need of good books for the students in the area. CODE has expanded to work in the Caribbean, plus the 8 countries in Africa. Their continued support has grown each country’s library tremendously. In Ethiopia alone, 300,000 books have been donated to libraries across the country. CODE’s main goal is to “ensure longterm sustainability” in education so that students without access to literature and stable education can continue to learn and hopefully educate others in the future. Books these students have access to need to reflect the lives they live, so that they can relate to literature and get excited to learn.

Works Cited

Global Affairs Canada, editor. “Who We Are.” CODE, 2018,

#LoveOzYA Movement

This semester we’ve been learning about how it is important for students to read books on diversity, specifically reading about things that they can relate to and that open their mind to new ideas. One group, #LoveOzYA, started a movement in Australia in 2015 to bring local content to their Australian teen readers, claiming that diverse books in the classroom should include local content. “We all want the same thing – to draw the attention of Australian teens to Australian books that speak to their experience, and unite the youth-lit community by: promoting a united message, centralising information, and raising the profile of local content” (#LoveOzYA). Teachers, writers, and readers have banded together to build the movement and bring more local Australian texts to high school classrooms across Australia.

The movement began when the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) comprised a survey that found most books read by Australian teens were books imported from the United States (#LoveOzYA). The movement began online, connecting readers with local content and expanding their knowledge on books written by Australian natives. One book I was surprised by was The Book Thief, which was marketed as general fiction in Australia but Young Adult Fiction in the United States (#LoveOzYA).

The #LoveOzYA website includes a Q&A section with authors, a book list, information on local terms and ideas for readers, a newsletter, a podcast, and links to other social media sites like twitter and facebook. This website is designed for teens in Australia to interact with local content, local authors, and understand the diversity found in Australia. The main point of this movement is connection: it’s connecting the Australian youth with Australian literature and diversity, instead of having Australian youth only read books from the United States. The creators of #LoveOzYA wanted to show off Australian literature, its wide reaching scopes, and its impressive talents. Check out books such as Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, StormDancer by Jay Kristoff, and One Would Think the Deep by Clare Zorn.


Works Cited

#LoveOzYA, editor. “About.” #LoveOzYA: Read Local, 2018, Accessed 7 Dec. 2018.

A Night of Adventure and Romance: Graffiti Moon

Book Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon, by Australian author Cath Crowley, is a young adult novel that is set in Australia about six teens in search of two graffiti artists, Shadow and Poet. Lucy believes she could really fall in love with Shadow, which is why she desperately wants to find him. Lucy is forced to hang out with Ed, though, because she believes he knows how to find Shadow. Though this book only takes place over a twenty four hour period, Crowley keeps the action moving and the reader interested the entire novel.

Almost immediately we find out that Ed is really Shadow, but Lucy doesn’t know this until much later. Ed and Lucy went on one date two years ago that ended abruptly when she broke his nose for grabbing her butt. The reader gets to see Lucy interact with a man she isn’t keen on, while the reader knows that Ed is the man she is looking for (Shadow). Reading Lucy’s storyline while knowing Ed is really Shadow is what keeps the reader reading.

Throughout the book, Crowley intersperses small details about each of the character’s pasts and families, their future plans, and what they think about each other. The book goes between Ed and Lucy’s point of view, which gives us the point of view of the other two girls (Daisy and Jazz) and guys (Dylan and Leo/Poet) respectively. Crowley also includes random poems written by Leo (Poet) that move the story forward. Graffiti Moon gives a little bit of everything for the young adult reader: romance, humor, character growth, male and female perspectives, and adventure. Everyone loves a good late-night adventure, and Crowley gives the reader just that: a great late-night adventure these characters will be talking about for years to come.

Graffiti Moon gives the reader an inside look at a teenager’s life in Australia. The colloquialisms are there, and the way Crowley writes makes it so American (or other country) readers aren’t confused by words we may not hear or understand in the context. Words such as sheddy, wanker, arse, etc. Crowley introduces us to Australian lingo in a fun way that helps us learn about these six teens and life in Australia.

Crowley does a great job of showing the reader what it’s like to be looking for something that’s completely different than what we expected. Throughout Graffiti Moon, Lucy is looking for Shadow, though Shadow is with her almost the entire novel. Lucy will think things like, “A guy like Shadow would stand out” (Crowley 64), or that if she meets him, she will immediately know it’s Shadow. But Shadow is in front of her the whole time and she’s annoyed at him! The hilariousness of the whole scenario is worth the read. Seeing Lucy say things like “I would sleep with Shadow” to Ed makes the reader imagine what will happen when Lucy does find out she’s been hanging out with Shadow the entire night.

Graffiti Moon is about adventure, but Graffiti Moon is also about the six teenagers learning about themselves and what they find important. In the beginning of the novel, we see Ed as a boy who dropped out of school and doesn’t have any real plans. He is ashamed of himself, to the point where he ended his first relationship because he was afraid she would end it first. Crowley intertwines Ed’s character growth through the night as all the teens have to choose what is important to them or not, especially when things get mixed up and a little scary.

Graffiti Moon is for the artist in all of us. Crowley’s words are written beautifully, and so are the poems included that show Leo’s point of view. Ed and Leo are graffiti artists, Jazz is an actor, and Lucy likes to draw and is learning how to be a glass blower. Graffiti Moon teaches us about various forms of art, and the way Crowley describes the pieces of art help the reader to imagine it in their minds, especially if the reader loves graffiti like I do.

Overall, I would recommend reading Graffiti Moon. The themes are woven together to create a magical night that the reader feels like they lived with the six main characters. It’s that “one last night” before real life starts that we all want deep down, and Crowley captures every moment in an exciting and funny way. This book would be best for young adults who are learning about themselves and what they see is important. Graffiti Moon stresses the importances of choosing what’s important to us as an individual rather than expecting something from ourselves that we think other people want. For example, Ed thinks that his ex wanted a guy with plans for a future job and college, and he didn’t think he could be that so he ended it. In the end he realizes this was an expectation he placed on her without ever asking what she wanted. He just assumed. Graffiti Moon will help teens sift through their expectations on themselves and what they really want to do in life.

Graffiti Moon was published in Australia by Pan Macmillan in 2010. Random House published a slightly different version in 2012 in America. Cath Crowley is from Victoria, Australia and has written many other young adult novels.


Crowley, Cath. Graffiti Moon. Melbourne, Pan Macmillan, 2010.

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