Jun 27

Wigu Hero: Stephanie Zubcic, Reading Rights Advocate

Stephanie Zubcic, Wigu Hero | www.WhenIGrowUpBooks.comWe were introduced to Stephanie Zubcic by our friend Nicholas Ferroni. After learning more about her story, we just knew we had to share her story with you too.

Stephanie’s father was eighteen years old when he left his home in the former Communist state of Yugoslavia in the middle of the night. His long and arduous journey to arrive in Canada was motivated by his hope that, one day, his children may have the educational opportunities that were denied to him.

His dream was for his children to receive a formal education, to be self-determined, to be truly free.

Mr. Zubcic, your daughter has not only made your dreams come true….she is now making dreams come true for other children around the world through her organization, Children Reading for Children.

We are thus honored to share a bit more of Stephanie’s ’s story in this Wigu Heroes Spotlight. Herewith, her answers to our questions…


Q. What inspired you to the work you are doing?

A. My 92 year old grandma has never read or written a word; she’s illiterate. In 2009 I earned my Ph.D. The differences in the quality of life afforded to me compared to my grandma are truly astounding; so, it is my duty to help every girl and boy learn literacy and numeracy skills.

Education is the greatest investment in poverty-reduction, health care, HIV/AIDS prevention, maternal & infant mortality. Without educational equality, children will remain at risk for poverty, disease, food insecurity and diminished life expectancy. Children’s right to education inspires me.


Q. What is/was the greatest challenge you have faced in your life/career thus far?

A. My greatest challenge is my disability; I have battled a severe, life-threatening neurological brain disease – depression – since childhood.


Q. What is the biggest thing you learned during the course of your work/career?

A. To do what you love because when you are passionate about the work you do, it’s a labour of love.


Q. What would you advise young people who dream of doing the work you do, and/or dream of making a difference somewhere?

A. Start today! Start small! One act of love makes a difference. Children Reading for Children ambassadors all start with small actionable goals. Emma & Julia Mogus co-found #BooksWithNoBounds in 2012 with the goal of sending 500 books to children in need; today, our global ambassadors have donated over 45,000 books, along with several laptops, craft supplies, ice skates, toys & teddy bears to children. Together, we are changing the world one reader and one book at a time.


Q. If you could choose any other career/ endeavor / dream what would it be?

A. I plan to return to school to earn my J.D. from law school so that one day I can become a judge and improve public policy.


Q. What role has reading played, or play, in your life?

A. Reading is the greatest gift in my life; that’s why I believe it is my moral and political duty to give literacy to all children.


Q. Any other information or stories you would like to share with our readers?

A. When I used to teach at the university, I would read my undergraduate students my favourite childhood book on the last day of school: “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. It is a timeless story I encourage you to read and re-read throughout your life. The best lessons in life are simple.

To learn more about Stephanie, visit http://childrenreadingforchildren.com/