Today, as the co-founder and executive director of NABU, she wants to share that magical feeling with millions of children the world over, in their own language.
NABU’s mission is to lift people out of poverty by investing in literacy. Globally, some 773 million young people and adults aren’t achieving basic literacy, according to UNESCO, which leaves them vulnerable to social and economic exploitation.
“We know from the data that children who are literate have much better lives as they grow up,” Evans says. “They have smaller, healthier families; they earn more so they can look after their families; and they have much better health outcomes. Literacy is agency, it’s opportunity, it’s a ladder out of poverty.”
NABU’s books tackle subjects beyond the antics of Spot, with uplifting, age-appropriate stories about racism, xenophobia, the COVID-19 pandemic, conservation, and the power of community.
HP is partnering to advance digital equity with NABU on initiatives including HP PATH, the company’s newly formed Partnership and Technology for Humanity accelerator, and to support authors and illustrators on the Inclusive Literacy initiative to help ensure children globally have access to enriching resources and content they need in their native language.
The company is also helping publish a new book this fall, called I Love Being Me, which draws upon the experience of Japanese-American author Jessica Michibata, who grew up biracial in Kansas. The protagonist discovers her sense of belonging and what ‘home’ means to her as she struggles with race and identity. “I think the power of NABU is clear when we work with voices that aren’t always seen or heard, and try to bring their experiences to life,” Evans says.
The Garage sat down with Evans ahead of UNESCO’s International Literacy Day, which this year will be celebrated under the theme “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.”