March 18, 2019

Nonprofit Literacy Partners unveils campaign to fight adult illiteracy


Those of us who love to read probably take it for granted. But Literacy Partners is a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in families, and they’ve recently unveiled their second annual Unreadable Books campaign in order to raise awareness about adult illiteracy. 

The campaign takes the covers of twelve popular books, and scrambles all of the featured text, including titles, author names, and blurbs. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones becomes Na Anreicam Mgeriaar. This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite looks like Thsi Rhiac Orcsk. Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give becomes Het Ahet U Evig.

For so many of us, reading is second nature. But 1 in 5 New Yorkers cannot read, and the Unreadable Books campaign was designed to give us an example of what it’s like to live as someone who cannot. In the press release,  Anthony Tassi, CEO at Literacy Partners said:

“It’s incredibly difficult for people who know how to read to imagine what it’s like to not be able to make sense of even basic written information, much less things like rental agreements, legal documents and medical instructions. With Unreadable Books we’re hoping to connect with people who love reading to inspire them to support their fellow New Yorkers who are trying to learn. We are honored to have the support of 12 phenomenal authors for this year’s activation.”

According to the press release from Literacy Partners, the campaign consists of a bookstore activation that can be found through Monday March 18 at NYC bookstores McNally Jackson’s Brooklyn location and Mysterious Bookstore in Manhattan. The backs of the book will feature information on how to support Literacy Partners and their campaigns, and supporters can donate money by scanning a barcode on the back of the books and texting “literacy” to 44-321.

The full list of books in the Unreadable Books program include:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Roja Contreras; The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown; An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; Chaos by Patricia Cornwell; The War of The Roses by Warren Adler; Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford; No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal; This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite; The Undesirables by Mark Isaacs; Fall of Giants by Ken Follett; People Like Us by Sayu Bhojwani



Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.