Video – The African Storybook in Global Perspective: Children’s Literacy and Teacher Identity


The African Storybook (ASb) is a ground-breaking South African initiative, begun in 2013, which promotes early literacy for African children through a powerful interactive website ( There are currently over 500 unique stories in over 60 African languages, as well as English, French, and Portuguese, which can be downloaded, translated, and adapted for use.

Espen Stranger-Johannessen is doing his Ph.D. research on the project, and Bonny Norton serves as the project’s Research Advisor. The openly licences stories of the ASb have inspired innovations such as the Global African Storybook Project, developed by Liam Doherty, to enable educators, parents, and others around the world to promote children’s literacy by translating the stories from the African Storybook into all of the languages of the world ( In the process, many innovative and useful tools have been developed using the data (text and images) from the ASb. This collaborative presentation will introduce both the ASb and the Global ASP, and then turn to a discussion of the language teacher identity research that has arisen from the ASb, focusing on Darvin and Norton’s (2015) model of identity and investment. The research with Ugandan elementary school teachers has found that shifts of identity are associated with changing pedagogical practices, and that different forms of capital are implicated in the teachers’ investments in new digital practices. Aspects of this research are publicly available in the online newspaper The Conversation.

Watch the whole talk here!