Books written by Jane Kurtz
Ready Set Go Books are Jane’s latest volunteer passion. In fifteen years of volunteering for Ethiopia Reads, she saw how desperately all NGO projects that have an educational component were starved for local language books. She also saw how her own Ethiopian-American grandchildren didn’t have resources in their lives and schools that would help them celebrate their Ethiopian heritage. In 2016, she and her sister Caroline traveled back to their childhood home of Maji, Ethiopia, with a group of writers and visual artists. They brainstormed about how to start creating easy-to-read, appealing, colorful books that would be filled with details of Ethiopian geography, history, proverbs, and daily life.
When Caroline and Jane Kurtz returned home to Portland, Oregon, they began to experiment and look for illustrations, many of them by kids for kids. Now there are more than 100 Ready Set Go Books published by the Seattle nonprofit Open Hearts Big Dreams and available online at Bookshop.org and Amazon.com. Some are available at other online stores including Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble and Sodere Store (https://soderestore.com/). Soon, more than 200,000 copies will have been printed and distributed in Ethiopia in various local languages.
Jane has collaborated with her grandchildren to write and/or illustrate several of the books. In addition, schools, community groups, and now professional Ethiopian artists have gotten involved for the books. Jane has a hand in each one—writing, editing, and/or figuring out how words and pictures can work together to create something wonderful.