The OAKY series of picture books for 4- to 9-year-olds, follows the adventures of OAKY, an acorn that grows into a big oak tree. There aren't many books for young children that are fun, educational and uplifting while simultaneously free of violence, gender stereotypes and racial stereotypes. The OAKY series seeks to fill this gap. The books are magnificently illustrated by the talented Taryn Lock. Over 100,000 OAKY books have been sold or distributed through Read to Rise.
READ to RISE was founded in September 2013 by husband-and-wife team, Athol Williams and Taryn Lock. Both Athol and Taryn are passionate about literacy, education and helping others.
Athol grew up in Westridge, Mitchells Plain (Cape Town, South Africa), so is very aware of the challenges that children face. Today, Athol is a businessman, philosopher and poet and attributes his success to reading and education. He has a personal library of 10,000 books and is a firm believer in the power and magic of reading. He is the living example of reading to rise.
Taryn was born and raised in Johannesburg (South Africa). She has an honours degree in Mathematics from WITS University and has worked in financial services many years as a strategy analyst. Illiteracy is a huge problem in SA and being passionate about literacy and wanting to make a real difference in SA, Taryn quit her corporate job to start up READ to RISE with Athol. Taryn is the Executive Director of READ to RISE. She was one of Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2014 for her work in civil society through READ to RISE.