23 April 2022
#YidanReadingList: Books that have inspired our laureates

We’re joining UNESCO to spread the joy of reading and celebrate the power of books in cultivating creativity, diversity, and equal access to knowledge. Earlier, we asked our laureates to share books that have inspired them personally.

Rukmini Banerji

Dr Rukmini Banerji

Our 2021 Education Development laureate

Shohoj Paath by Rabindranath Tagore

“Rabindranath Tagore is a famous poet and writer from India who wrote in Bangla. There is a vast collection of his writings—poems, stories, songs, lyrics, plays. But my favourite is Shohoj Paath. Till today, it is often the first book that children get when they learn to read.  Simple words, lyrical text, beautiful illustrations. I have read it myself and read it aloud to so many children. I can read it in my mind’s eye at any time.”

Lucy Lake

Ms Lucy Lake

Our 2020 Education Development laureate

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

“It speaks of the power of being prepared to assimilate oneself into the unknown, rather than trying to force the unknown into something familiar.”

Angeline Murimirwa

Ms Angeline Murimirwa

Our 2020 Education Development laureate

“All these books have informed my thinking and action on tackling the structural issues that continue to disadvantaged women and girls in our communities and across the globe. They inspire me because they show that while these challenges are universal, and persist across the globe, we can find strength and support in a global movement for social justice—it’s something that we can (and must) all be a part of.”

  • Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen
  • Gender Justice, Development, and Rights by Maxine Molyneux and Shahra Razavi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Impact of War on Children by Graça Machel
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • Women and Leadership: Lessons from some of the world’s most powerful women by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
Carl Wieman

Professor Carl Wieman

Our 2020 Education Research laureate

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

“It gave me a completely new perspective on how the environment shapes the way different human societies and cultures have developed.“ 

Are you interested in more book recommendations from our laureates?

Find out books that our laureates have recently read and enjoyed on our social media @yidanprize. Next week, we’ll be sharing books that our laureates read more than once and why.

Book photo created by freepik –