By Jon F. Merz

I am very pleased to announce that I have signed on with to donate copies of THE NINJA APPRENTICE to their amazing program that brings e-readers and ebooks to children living in under-developed regions in Africa. Worldreader distributes Amazon Kindles to the children and then Amazon “pushes” the free ebooks to the kids, who get to choose books to read on them for free. It boosts literacy, aids in their education, and their ability to improve their station in life. I heard about this organization, based in Seattle and Barcelona, yesterday and knew I wanted to get involved. It took no time whatsoever, and now thousands of kids will get a chance to read about Jimmy’s wild and crazy adventures as he tries to restore his family’s honor. Worldreader has already sent 100,000 ebooks to these kids and their aiming for ONE MILLION.

Worldreader has partnered with many publishers and authors to help expand their programs in Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya and soon Rwanda. After launching, they soon found some pretty dramatic effects: “After 9 months the biggest gains were realized from the 4-5th graders; in 8 months kids were reading 50% more in volume, their rate of reading increased by 30% when measured by wpm and they were excited about great content… win win win!!! Textbooks – novels – the Atlas – all kinds of knowledge and information. ”

So awesome. And this is just one more indicator of the technological shift away from paper. This program would not have been possible using printed books. It’s only with e-readers and ebooks that such a thing is possible. I’m grateful to be able to contribute in this small way and hopefully give those kids a fun, exciting read. I don’t know how many Ninjutsu practitioners there are in Africa (outside of South Africa, which has a few dojo) but there might be several more once these kids meet Jimmy!

If you’re an author with middle grade to YA fiction and would like to help out, make sure you have the rights to your work or that your publisher is interested in participating, and then contact Michael Smith at For authors, it’s a simple, one-page contract – quick and easy. For me, it was a no-brainer to get involved and do some good. I hope my writer friends feel the same. Writer & non-writer friends can also head to the website and donate money or get involved to help them send more Kindles to the kids in Africa.

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