Avant Assessment, the developer of online language proficiency tests in more than 40 languages, and Linguacious, an independent children’s book publisher based in Iowa whose books have been translated into over 20 languages, have partnered to help ensure that Ukrainian refugee children have access to good-quality children’s literature in their native language while away from their home country. The two companies have come together, bound by their love of cultures, languages, literacy, and childhood, to donate 1,500 copies of award-winning children’s author Victor D. O. Santos’s book Dylan’s Birthday Present / Подарунок Ділану на день народження. The books will be distributed in early May to Ukrainian refugee children and public libraries located in areas of Poland with a large number of Ukrainian refugees.
A Shared Love and Appreciation for Cultures, Languages, Literacy, and Childhood
In early March of 2022, Linguacious started noticing a very significant and sudden increase in sales of the Ukrainian edition of Book 1 (Dylan’s Birthday Present) of its award-winning Little Polyglot Adventures children’s book series. The publishing house’s CEO, Victor D. O. Santos, realized that the uptick in sales was caused by the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sudden increased demand for children’s books in Ukrainian. Santos, who is married to a Ukrainian national and raises two half-Ukrainian children, decided that he could help. That same day, Santos, who is also the director of assessment and research for Avant Assessment, approached Avant CEO David Bong to suggest a joint partnership. He proposed to donate 1,500 copies of the book directly to affected Ukrainian children. Bong and Avant Assessment immediately loved the idea and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these children.
Avant and Linguacious contacted some of the major players in Poland who are trying to distribute children’s books in Ukrainian to refugee children currently in Poland, two of which are the Polish Book Institute and the Universal Reading Foundation.
These Polish organizations work mainly by accepting monetary donations to purchase children’s books from Ukrainian publishing houses. Subsequently, the books are distributed to Ukrainian children, mostly in Poland. When they heard from Linguacious and Avant that 1,500 books could be donated with no need to tap into additional funds and that the books could reach them in less than two weeks, the Polish Book Institute and the Universal Reading Foundation welcomed the donation with open arms. Through a program called Give a Book to Ukrainian Children, the Polish Book Institute focuses on donating the books to public libraries in Poland located in areas with high numbers of Ukrainian refugees. In turn, the Universal Reading Foundation focuses more on getting the books straight into the hands of Ukrainian refugee children in orphanages, refugee centers, and other locations.
“We are deeply saddened and distraught to see what is happening in Ukraine and hope that this modest contribution will bring a smile to as many Ukrainian children as possible,” said David Bong, Avant Assessment’s CEO.