The idea of Ready Set Go Books was born in brain sparks by two sisters who are readers and writers – Jane Kurtz, a children’s book author with almost 40 books published, and Caroline Kurtz whose memoir about her childhood in Ethiopia was released in 2019.
Between them, Caroline and Jane Kurtz have done most of the writing and editing of the lively texts that are designed to draw readers into our first 40 easy-to-read books. They now are also helping new authors get their start in writing engaging children’s books as we approach 100 titles created and published.
But illustrations are a big part of learning how to read well. Finding colorful, appealing, culturally appropriate art was an issue that felt almost insurmountable at first. The Ready Set Go Books team is appreciative and amazed that so many people with artistic talents have stepped forward to donate their work.
Some of our most recent books show a wonderful ripple effect that began in 2017 with more and more people seeing what we’re doing and offering to help. For example, just in time for OHBD’ 2018 Adventures in Reading gala, Katie Bradley completed illustrations for an Ethiopian version of the gingerbread man story called The Runaway Injera, which is now one of our best sellers. She also recruited students from Lee Baughman’s watercolor classes at Clark College Continuing Education in Vancouver, Washington, whose paintings brought a nonfiction book (The Great Rift Valley Lakes) to life, which is loved by kids and adults alike.
Early in 2019, more paintings from the classes provided most of the illustrations for another book, I See You. In 2019, we saw the watercolor painters’ work in books about the true story of Teff, about the ancient walled city of Harar, about the markets of Dire Dawa, and more. We are approaching the one-hundredth-book-published milestone and you can find our books on Amazon and a number of other sites. If you are an aspiring Ethiopian writer or artist who would like to contribute your talents, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.