Let’s build a library together!


Remote believers in villages throughout Papua New Guinea have a number of unique and challenging needs from learning basic literacy, needing access to lessons and Bible study resources  along with needing access a plethora of other materials covering a range of topics like education, health & hygiene, community development and so much more.  Here’s an opportunity where you might be able to come in and help!

Have you recently been around a child learning to read?  Or can you remember learning to read yourself?  How do you improve over time?  Through reading, of course!

As the remote peoples of Papua New Guinea are learning to read in their language for the first time as adults, the reading material available to them is quite limited.  So to address this need, our Church Development Resources team here has started an initiative to reinforce newly learned reading and writing skills, and you can be involved!

Why does it matter how well they can read?  New Tribes Mission PNG has a vision to see the remote churches of Papua New Guinea confidently stand upon God’s Word.  So we want to equip them to read it and understand it at a deep level because…

How can you help?

  • If you’re an author, you could volunteer to write a short book (at least 20-60 pages) that a tribal missionary can then oversee having remote peoples translate into their local language and then have them published and printed for use in reading practice programs. (Click here for information on volunteering as an author)
  • If you are an artist, we can use your skills to illustrate books to help with reading comprehension and understanding context.  These illustrations should be black and white line drawings or even basic doodles that communicate meaning.  (Click here for information on volunteering as an illustrator)
  • If you are a translator, we could really use your help with adapting English versions of our materials into other languages including English to Simple English.  (Click here for information on volunteering as a translator)
  • If you are an editor, our biggest need right now is to help evaluate and in many cases work with our authors to better tailor submissions to be suitable to our remote local village audiences.  This can take a fair bit of training but with time you can have a direct impact on the speed of these books making it to our intended audience, the very local believers we work amongst.  If you think you might be able to help in this way, write to cd-resources-admin@ntmpng.org
  • Another key role is that of publisher/author liaison.  We could really use your help contacting copyright owners and asking permission to utilize their excellent material. (Click here for information on volunteering as a publisher liaison)
  • Finally, can you pray with us and help spread the word to others about this project too?

Contact us!

If any of the above sounds like a fit for you or someone you know, please contact our literacy team by emailing cd-resources-admin@ntmpng.org and let us know a bit about yourself and how you might be able to help as a volunteer contributor.

How it works

Someone gets an idea for a book and writes it in English. Ideally books for early to medium readers will have one illustration per page.  (We’re also interested in developing more books for advanced readers as well).

Example: “What is a Train?”

Step 01 – Authoring.

An author would compose a book such as “The History of trains” or “When my grandfather was a conductor on a train” or “How do trains work?”  or something like that.  Each page would have temporary descriptions written to a volunteer illustrator.  Once the book has been completed it can then be emailed to the illustrator & editor for the next 2 steps.

Step 02 – illustrating

For example, many people here in PNG have no concept of what a train is, but communicating such new ideas with them would allow them to be challenged with new vocabulary, etc. If someone were to write a book with illustrations that convey to people who have no way of actually seeing  what a train is all about this would be exactly the kind of books we are looking to add to our library. (Ditto for concepts like slavery, foreign religions, scientific knowledge, historical events and figures etc…)

Step 03 – editing

An editor can go through and help both the author & the illustrator to further develop the book, making sure it fits consistently in layout & formatting within our library of materials as well as correcting any spelling & grammar etc.

Next steps:

Once a book has been developed it can then be uploaded to our Microsoft OneDrive where someone will translate it into a national trade language (Spanish, French or in our case here in PNG Tok Pisin.) From that point then it can be made available to church planting missionary teams anywhere.  Church planting missionary teams can then oversee having local people to translate books into their own local languages and then have them published and printed for use in reading practice programs.

How books will be used:

For example the Mibu people meet twice a week to read through books together. They have various activities (games) that reinforce the three pillars of literacy (speed, accuracy and comprehension). Every six months they formally test each other to gauge individual progress, and it is having a tremendous impact!  But we hope to offer an ever expanding library of content to give them new material to challenge and educate them, expose them to new vocabulary and ideas which in turn strengthens the churches.

Sample Books

Here are a couple different books (written in English) that you can look through to see the kind of books we are going for.

Iwam Story Book sample illustration

click here to download the “Iwam Story Book 8”

Flies are your enemy sample illustration

click here to download the “Flies are your enemy” book

How the Jews Lived - sample illustration

Click here to download the “How the Jews Lived” book

Sample list of project ideas

Here’s some brainstorming for some of the many subjects we’d love to have as books in our local Papua New Guinea libraries.

Common Crops Common Game Animals Dangerous Animals
Dinosaurs Countries Around the World World Religions
Christian groups Ancient Egypt Boats
Pirates Castles & Knights – Medieval age Bible Lands
Russia Germany England
Names of God Amphibians China
Ancient Greece & Rome North & South Pole Weapons
Incas & Mayan peoples Culture of the Pharisees History of Books & The Bible
Famous Buildings History of Slavery Cars
God’s Justice Cowboys Ecosystems/Climates:
Elephants Explorers Microscopes & Telescopes
Biographies of Missionaries Modern Farming Fish
Bible Geography Gorillas & Monkeys Horses
Insects Famous inventions Mammals
Musical instruments North American Indians Oceans
Reptiles Sharks Shells
Human Anatomy Popular Sports Vikings
Weather Minerals Mosquitoes
Armour of God Computers Trains
Cell Phones Batteries Passports & Visas
Banking Tourism Current World Conflicts
US Presidents Caves Proper use of medicine

Many of these subjects could actually be made into entire series of books, we simply need people to help make them to fruition. So what do you think? If any of these topics are of interest to you, maybe you know of someone you could work with to put together some of these books? Perhaps you have other ideas for books that would be of interest to new readers in Papua New Guinea? Are you already working on something that might be of interest to our project? Please let us know your thoughts. Hopefully we can collaborate together on many projects for His glory.

To help keep our efforts coordinated, we maintain a regular newsletter that goes out to all active and potential volunteers..

Subscribe to our Church Development Volunteers E-Newlsetter

* indicates required

Here’s a link to our archive of back issues if you’d like to get caught up on what’s been communicated so far..

Frequently Asked Questions

For more questions specific to respective volunteers see also : Authors FAQ, Illustrators FAQ, Translators FAQ and the Publisher Liaison FAQ

What other ways can I help?

First of all, would you pray for the success of this project? Regardless of your skill set, we’d love to see the profile of this project raised to recruit yet more talent. Having individuals willing to spread the word and recruit others in and of itself would be very helpful! Posting to this website on Facebook, emailing others and encouraging them to visit here and consider volunteering.

Why create new books? Can’t we just copy books from a book store or the library?

Unfortunately, while that would be a very easy thing to do allowing us to build our Library in a flash it would also be illegal to break international copyright laws.

Couldn’t we just buy copies of books that are helpful and then translate them?

Translating books without permission from the copyright owner (Author/Publisher) is also a violation of international copyright law. Copyright protected material simply cannot be used for our project without permission.

If permission is obtained from the copyright owner, can we use this material?

Yes absolutely! This includes books, webpages, blogs, pamphlets, brochures etc. Most copyright statements require written permission from the owner (author, publisher etc). There are countless books and other resources we’d love to use, but it takes time to request permission. We’d love to see a team of volunteers spending time seeking permission to use various resources for our project. A volunteer helping us in this way we call a publisher liaison, (click here for more information on how to help in this way.)

Why do we need artists to create artwork? Couldn’t we just copy artwork from resources like Google images?

While some images available are public domain, most images are not. Many images technically are very easy to extract from the internet but legally this would be very problematic. When dealing with images just like with with entire books we must remain safely in-line with international copyright laws which even protect web-based images.

Who is the target audience for this project?

While we have seen some interest from individuals on fields in other regions of the world, currently our efforts mostly target local Papua New Guinean believers many of whom live in very remote village settings. Still, any other audiences who find our content helpful are more than welcome to have access to our library. Because our audience of new readers consists of both adults and children we are targeting a reading complexity level of around 5th to 6th grade.

How does my artwork get into Microsoft Word?

If you don’t create artwork directly on a computer, use of a scanner, or in some cases a quality digital camera/phone/tablet will work fine too. As a volunteer artist, if this seems technically unfeasible, there are a couple volunteers who have indicated their willingness to help non-techie artists with this process. In this case, the artist would physically mail the artwork to the assistant or request and receive training from the assistant to learn the skills necessary. One way or another we’ll work together to make progress. Once the artwork is ready for insertion into Microsoft work, we generally recommend “Centered” and “In-line with text” format layout settings for each image as this makes it much easier for tribal people later down the road to work with the text around the images.

If I donate funds for this project, what would the funds be used for?

Donations would be helpful to print or subsidize printing to make things more affordable to the people we are serving.

What is the best way to donate funds to support this project?

Two options for supporting literacy in Papua New Guinea

  • Give via credit card: call 1-866-547-2460 ext 1245 and request to donate funds to Papua New Guinea Literacy Account 218250
  • Give by sending a check to our business address:
    312 W. First Street
    Sanford FL, 32771
    (in the Memo of the check specify “For Papua New Guinea Literacy 218250”

As a teacher, are there ways I can involve my class to help with this project?

Please consider involving your talented students! If any show talent for artwork or authoring books, have turned in assignments that can be adapted into content for remote local churches, please let us know! For example, currently we have no series of books that teach Geography. We could also really use a book series that introduces each country in the world etc.

I have another question, who do I ask?

Thank you for your interest, please don’t hesitate to ask by emailing the literacy team via cd-resources-admin@ntmpng.org, we will try and answer your question as soon as possible.