Book Program

OHBD Bilingual
Ready Set Go Books

This project is about creating colorful, culturally-appropriate books for Ethiopia where millions of people are eager to practice reading (you can find all our titles and languages here):

  • Students in overcrowded classrooms that may have no books at all
  • Women who didn’t have a chance to go to school
  • People of all ages who’ve never before seen words printed in their heart language

The shiniest books for children make it all look easy.

Anyone who has tried to create a successful children’s book knows though, that a lot of deep-water sloshes around that shiny little iceberg tip.

Award-winning children’s book author Jane Kurtz and her sister Caroline - who learned to read as children growing up in Maji, Ethiopia, are volunteering their time and artistic talents to create easy-to-read books inspired by stories, proverbs, and scenes from daily life in Ethiopia. An army of volunteers has stepped forward to help with writing, illustration, translation, and design. Kate Bare leads the Production team, Steffani Stephens, a former Microsoft Program Manager, leads the Translation team, and Yoseph Ayalew, a literacy advocate and author, leads our Local Printing and Distribution in Addis.


Bold Vision Plus Actions

Here are some of the reactions we have gotten to these books.

Twelve-year-old Nardos: “I love reading all of these books because they have interesting and catchy stories and I like retelling the stories to my friends, siblings and in the classroom.

Seven-year-old Rediet especially likes the book Fire. “It’s informative,” she says. “These books tell us about things that are around us that we don't pay attention to every day.

Eleven-year-old Anteneh points to We Can Stop the Lion and calls it his favorite “because the story has a very strong message and it made me admire the strengths of the spiders.


Global researchers find children do better throughout school if they first learn to read in their heart languages. OHBD works with native speakers to provide translations in local languages. The bilingual books give beginning readers bright and engaging stories so they can practice their reading skills.

Our goal is 200 unique titles to help increase the literary rate in Ethiopia. The books are available globally on Amazon sites – follow our author page here to hear about new books or languages published.  Proceeds from book sales support producing and distributing more OHBD Ready Set Go books in Ethiopia.

Our books are carried by Seattle Public Libraries, Denver Public Libraries as well as libraries in Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota. If you'd like to see Ready Set Go books in your school or library, please contact us for more information and preferred pricing. We know kids in the US will enjoy our books and each one sold funds multiple books printed and distributed in Ethiopia.

A number of our books are sponsored by individuals and organizations. Sponsors subsidize cost of design and publishing, choose the stories, may help create the art, and direct where they would like books to be first distributed. Sponsors are recognized in the back matter of each book and on our website.

We are grateful for all our amazing supporters that take actions to make our bold vision a reality.

OHBD Artist Spotlight

Nahosenay Negussie

Nahosenay Negussie is an internationally renowned artist whose work has been featured in the National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. His richly detailed paintings with gilded details, which have been compared to Gustav Klimt, animate the figures and patterns that he arranges in brilliant kaleidoscopic compositions. Nahosenay was part of the artists-and-writers group that traveled together …

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Lee Baughman

“As an art teacher I am always on the hunt for projects that the participants in my classes will get excited about. When Katie Bradley first approached me about the Ready Set Go books I thought ‘well this might be something a few of my students would be interested in…’. While I was intrigued and …

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Durga Yael Bernhard

A community wedding celebration called a dounounbah How gratifying it is for me to bring a different aspect of my life – African dance and drumming, which I have practiced for 36 years – into my work as a children’s book author and illustrator.  Guinea is one of my favorite places on earth, full of …

Durga Yael Bernhard Read More »