Asia Foundation Creates Environment-Themed Storybooks at Let’s Read Booklab

Phnom Penh, September 24, 2018 — The Asia Foundation in Cambodia hosted an environment-themed book creation event as part of its Let’s Read Initiative at its incubator space, TEK4Good. During the intensive two-day Booklab, a team of local writers, illustrators, and book editors gathered together to produce ten original, local-language children’s stories that touch on topics including pollution, conservation, and environment appreciation.

Photo: Kyle Barker

This is the fourth book creation event in the Let’s Read Booklab series (formerly called e-book hackathons) that nurtures a small yet growing number of children’s book professionals and raises the public’s awareness of the importance of reading.

Photo: Kyle Barker

The Let’s Read stories were chosen not only for their entertaining appeal, but also for the educational value they impart to young readers. From a young girl who befriends an elephant to a naughty puppy who likes to litter in the park, these books aim at creating a fun reading experience that is relevant and relatable for children.

Booklab attendees included Her Excellency Tun Saim, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports; Jonathan Yap, head of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs at Smart Axiata; and Meloney Lindberg, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Cambodia.

Let’s Read is also taking advantage of the rapidly growing popularity of smartphones to provide free e-books with a Creative Commons open license for everyone to read, download, and translate into local languages. Books produced through Let’s Read can be found on the Let’s Read digital library.

Let’s Read is generously supported by Smart Axiata, Cambodia’s leading mobile telecommunications operator, through the company’s long-term partnership with The Asia Foundation. “At Smart, we believe that technology can be utilized to enhance education, especially with creative and entertaining content like the e-books from the Let’s Read program as well as platform. I am certain that these e-books will help ignite the interests of young children and cultivate good reading habits among them,” said Jonathan Yap, head of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs at Smart Axiata.

The Let’s Read initiative draws on The Asia Foundation’s in-country capabilities, local partnerships, and technological expertise to empower communities to create, translate, and share high-quality, richly illustrated children’s books across Asia. Since 1954, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program has donated print books to thousands of under-resourced educational institutions in 21 Asian countries. While print remains the most effective means of delivering information in many parts of the developing world, mobile technology’s increasing affordability suggests e-books hold the promise of becoming a cost-effective, scalable model.

Read more information about the Let’s Read initiative.

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Related locations: Cambodia
Related programs: Books for Asia
Related topics: Let's Read

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