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Book Dash

Owning books boosts learning. Book Dash creates better ways to get books into children's hands.

Book Dash’s vision is that “every child should own a hundred books by the age of five”. Owning books is a proven key factor in a child’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. To increase early learning opportunities for young children, Book Dash developed an innovative, replicable book-creation model that increases efficiencies in publishing and distribution equalising book ownership for all.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
Students early
May 2024
To date we have produced 300 books and distributed to over 4 million children. Our books have been accessed over 6 million times online and are read in 12 different countries.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Book Dash began in 2014 as a vision project among friends who pooled their collective skills in the publishing industry to flood South Africa with new, high-quality, affordable African picture books for all in response the lack of access to books for children in low-income communities and the clear evidence of the importance to access to books in for pre-school children.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

To change the systems that keep books inaccessible to most families and preschool children, Book Dash designed an open publishing model that harnesses professional creative volunteers to create beautiful new, open-licensed books for children… in just 12 hours! This unique model vastly reduces the time and costs involved in creating beautiful, relevant picturebooks for the children who need them. Our team then works with partners to translate, print, distribute and share the books as widely as possible to increase ownership and access to high-quality books for all children from a young age.

How has it been spreading?

Since the start in 2014 we have been able to produced 300 books. Over 3 million books have been printed and distributed to children in resource poor communities in South Africa and through our Open source Website. It is estimated that 4 million children in South Africa have been impacted by Book Dash books. They have also reached thousands of children globally and are read in 12 different countries.

The 12-hour publishing model itself has been replicated in locations as disparate as Lebanon to Laos. The sharing of this model, and support for those replicating it, is a significant contribution to the global need for more diverse, representative and locally-originated storybooks to support children's literacy and reading journey. Our books have been accessed over 6 million times online.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Get in touch with us - the Book Dash model is free for anyone to replicate and adapt. You only have to acknowledge us.
All the books made by Book Dash are published on our website for free under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license. This means anyone can freely read, download, print, translate and share the books.

Implementation steps

Run your own Book Dash!

Please find the attached Book Dash manual that gives you all the information you need to run your own Book Dash event. Please let us know if you are running an event or if you need any help!

Print your own books, using our open-licensed content.
In order to achieve the maximum benefits of economies of scale we at book dash use a pool-procurement method for our collaborative print runs. This means in addition to funding we receive orders from other organisations who want to buy copies of our books. This way we are able to increase the number of books printed and bring down the costs.
Feature our books on your platform.

An online presence allows us to reach many more children. All of our books are made using an open license, that maximises the reach of our books, by allowing anyone anywhere to access our books and print them for their own use.

Sites already using our books include:

- Global Digital Library

- All Children reading

- World Reader network

- All Children Reading (USAID)

Spread of the innovation

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