Local libraries are increasingly adding books authored by Rwandan publishers onto their shelves and campaigns have over the years been stepped up to encourage Rwandans to buy local books as a way of promoting the reading culture in the country. International Literacy Day, which is celebrated annually on September 8 is one of the events used to raise awareness around the reading culture. This year it is being celebrated under the theme; Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide. However, some parents have shown concerns over locally produced books, criticizing the content of children’s books by local authors as lacking in various aspects. Grace Mujawimana, mother of two girls in primary school, shared the reason why she doesn’t buy local books for her kids. “I don’t have anything against local authors, it is just that the content is not really adapted to our day-to-day lives as Rwandans, especially the urban dwellers,” she said. “There’s a book I once read that was in tough Kinyarwanda I couldn’t understand myself, and it was about a lifestyle my kids can’t relate to so I prefer buying books that relate to what they study at school and have a considerable number of pages they will read for days not just at once and it is over,” she said. Mujawimana added that the stories in local books are too short, adding that the local books, which are mainly adapted from traditional folklore, should speak to the current reality. Noah Kwizera Shumbusho, a 12-year old says he prefers a mixture of foreign content and some locally produced books. “I prefer reading Harry Potter (by British author J.K Rowling) and I also like the Legend of Ndabaga (by Arnold Agaba)”, he said adding that he shares similar taste with his siblings. Jean-Jacques Nshumbusho, his father, said: “I make them read both local and foreign books but only those I judge rich of knowledge and context to what I want my kids to embody as they grow up”. Speaking to The New Times, Mutesi Gasana, the founder of Ubuntu Publishers said that local publishers will always strive to get better, saying that credit should be given to them for achieving what they have. “I think we should at least acknowledge the improvements that have been made by these emerging local authors, most of them are just starting,” adding that as time goes, they will get better. She urged Rwandans to always offer support and give them feedback on where they should improve, instead of shunning their books for foreign publishers. “You can’t compare Mickey Mouse stories or any other popular international stories with Urutare rwa Kamegeri or Mubisi bya Huye for example. The contexts themselves are different as are the languages, cultures and other factors.” She added that parents need to embrace, learn and appreciate their folklore and encourage their children to read it, adding that for most of them, the underlying message speak to Rwandan values. “Local authors on their behalf must improve as well, by alighting their content with the new era, the new realities of children of Rwanda” she said, adding that that way the content will be better understood. According to available statistics, the literacy rate in Rwanda stood at 73.2 per cent in 2018 among adults (15 years and above). The female adult literacy rate increased from 59.75 to 69.39 per cent (2000-2018) while among the male adults it increased from 71.42 to 77.56 per cent.