TO instill the culture of reading among children, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) launched on Wednesday its 52 Book Nook sites in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, giving priority to Indigenous peoples’ communities and inaccessible areas.

The Book Nook provides beneficiaries a safe space to hone their reading skills and a wide selection of books and reading materials in English, Filipino and other local languages.

NBDB Chairman Dante Francis “Klink” Ang 2nd explained that with their “Aklat Para sa Lahat” advocacy, reading resources are made more accessible to help develop children’s and students’ critical thinking and writing skills.

“We are hoping that through this Book Nook project, we will further strengthen and enhance nation-building and cultural empowerment while we offer a reading center to families located in Indigenous communities and inaccessible areas. These spaces also serve as a resource for children, their parents and teachers in order to reinforce their critical reading and writing of their own stories,” he said.

NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade recognized the disparity with the import-export ratio of books in the country, with 24 books being imported from international markets for every Filipino book exported.

“The Book Nook is a project that we envision to provide more access points to our content and our creations so that people all around the Philippines are able to read their own books in their own languages and look at their own culture and see their own experiences,” she said.

Aside from honing a culture of reading, as well as writing and creating, the project also aims to make books as accessible as possible so that local publishers can have their books be read by more people, she said. Book Nooks are inclusive spaces for everyone — for kids and kids at heart — to nurture their love for reading.

“This is the future of reading and storytelling in the Philippines,” Aquino-Tugade declared.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones supported the campaign and encouraged every Filipino to be a reader. She explained that the Book Nook project will complement the libraries and reading centers existing in highly populated areas, as the project prioritized establishing sites in isolated areas in great need of access to books.

“We hope that this effort will help parents and teachers in encouraging students and children to read literature from different regions,” Briones said.