‘Unreadable Books’ campaign jumbles titles to raise awareness of illiterate New Yorkers

Unreadable Books campaign raises awareness of NYC residents who can't read

New York City education non-profit Literacy Partners has launched its ‘Unreadable Books’ campaign, a bookstore activation designed to raise awareness and support for the one-in-five New Yorkers who are unable to read.

Now in its second year, the campaign was developed to provide book lovers with a graphic example of what life is like when reading is a struggle.

To do this, Literacy Partners has redesigned the dust jackets of 12 bestselling books, jumbling the words to make them unreadable. Thus, Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give becomes ‘Het Ahet U Evig,’ Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code becomes ‘The Ad Viicn Oced’ and Ingrid Roja Contreras’ Fruit of The Drunken Tree becomes ‘Frtui fo het Drenkun Eter.’ Other participating authors are Tayari Jones, Patricia Cornwell, Warren Adler, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Rakesh Satyal, Ashton Applewhite, Mark Isaacs, Ken Follett and Sayu Bhojwani.

The full set of Unreadable Books will be on display 15-18 March at booksellers McNally Jackson in Brooklyn and Mysterious Books in Manhattan. The books will also be at a Literacy Partners stand in Union Square on 17 March. Information on the back of the books provides details on how to support the Literacy Partners mission. Supporters can donate by texting ‘literacy’ to 44-321 or scanning a bespoke barcode on the covers. The campaign was developed by Literacy Partners in alliance with its creative agency The&Partnership.

“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,” said Anthony Tassi, chief executive officer at Literacy Partners. “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.”

Founded in 1975 and led for several decades by New York Post columnist Liz Smith in partnership with fashion designer Arnold Scaasi and publishing executive Parker Ladd, Literacy Partners has helped more than 27,000 students learn to read.

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