VIDEO: Colman Domingo, Anika Larsen and More Read Mozambican Children's Book for National Read Across America Day
To celebrate National Read Across America Day and as part of a global event celebrating the first ever original children's book created for Mozambique, non-profit organization CouldYou? has released a video of Broadway, TV, and film stars reading the "Mr. Rabbit and the Well" aloud. Check it out below!
In addition to the video's release, there will also be live read-aloud events in New York, Los Angeles, London, South Africa, and Mozambique.
The following Broadway, TV, and film stars participated in reading "Mr. Rabbit and the Well":
- Marsha Stephanie Blake is a SAG Award-winning actress of TV, film, and stage who recently played prison counselor Berdie Rogers on the hit Netflix show "Orange is the New Black." She is well known for her acclaimed performances on Broadway and Off Broadway, including Othello (with David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig), The Merchant of Venice (with Al Pacino), and Joe Turner's Come and Gone.
- Ami Brabson is an actress and singer best known for playing Judge Karyn Blake for five seasons of "Law & Order: SVU," and her recurring role on FX's "Damages" with Glenn Close. Her solo cabaret show, Phenomenal Woman, ran to sold out crowds in New York.
- Andre Braugher is a nine-time Emmy Award nominated and two-time Emmy Award winning actor who is a veteran of TV, film, and stage. He can currently be seen as Captain Ray Holt on the hit Fox TV series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine", now in its fourth season.
- Colman Domingo is an award-winning actor, playwright, and director who currently plays Victor Strand on the hit AMC spin-off "Fear the Walking Dead." On stage he was Tony Award nominated for his role in Kander and Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys, and his plays Dot, Wild with Happy, and A Boy and His Soul have been produced in New York and across the country.
- Anika Larsen is a Drama Desk-winning and Tony Award nominated actress who is best known for originating Cynthia Weil in the Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. She starred in the closing Broadway company of Avenue Q, and has also been seen in the Broadway companies of Xanadu, Rent, and All Shook Up. Her debut solo album, "Sing You To Sleep," was released in 2014 to great acclaim.
There are nearly 17 million school-aged youth in Mozambique, of which 70% are illiterate. To combat this, April Nickell, a literacy specialist and educator, and Eric Emch, a graphic designer for The Walt Disney Company, created "Mr. Rabbit and the Well" based on Mozambican folklore. The children's book has been endorsed by Mozambique's Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, and former president Joaquim Chissano.
The video, as well as the live read-aloud events around the world are not only raising awareness of the lack of children's books in Mozambique, but also to support non-profit organization CouldYou?'s fundraising effort to print and distribute 1,500 books to the country. All funds raised are 100% tax-deductible and will go directly towards supplying books. The fundraising campaign to provide Mozambique with "Mr. Rabbit and the Well" can be found on Generosity.com, Indigogo's community for social causes and non-profits: www.generosity.com/fundraisers/mr-rabbit-and-the-well.
"Mr. Rabbit and the Well" tells the story of a community of animals who, when faced with a drought, decide to create a well. When everyone but Mr. Rabbit agrees to do their part to contribute to the well, the Lion King bans him from using it. Mr. Rabbit, clever as he is, seeks out cunning ways to get past the well's guards and splash and play in the water. The tale reflects real issues facing the country, and teaches the great importance of prioritizing and contributing to the community.
Since its inception in 2007, CouldYou? established itself as a respected nonprofit organization in the USA that connects, consults and offers transformational travel to Africa to enable people of integrity and influence from the West to partner with African leaders of integrity to address serious challenges. One of the challenges we are addressing is education, specifically literacy in Mozambique. For more information about CouldYou?, visit www.couldyou.org.