Monday, February 04, 2013

Xieng Mieng! It's really happening and how you can help!

Have you seen Nor Sanavongsay's kickstarter for the children's book "Xieng Mieng" yet? It's over at

If there's one thing I love to see it's people following their dreams. I remember running into Nor Sanavongsay in 2001 during my first SatJaDham Lao Literary Project Conference in Minneapolis. He was demonstrating his vision for bringing the Lao children's hero, Xieng Mieng to life. Over the years, I've seen him continue to develop and refine the project. Knowing how much this means to him, and also what it means for our community to get this book out there, I've been strongly advocating for this as best I can.

But now is the part where you can come in.

This is an amazing project. Those of you who've worked with me on the Lao American Writers Summit know that one of my biggest concerns is that after 40 years we have less than 40 books written, presented and illustrated in our own words on our own terms. This is Xieng Mieng told the way a Lao artist and writer wants to tell it for Lao families around the world for a new generation.

 For $5 when the book is done, you could get a digital copy. For $15 you can get a real book you can hold in your hand as well as the e-book. For $25 and up you get a signed version, the e-book, and a few other goodies.

Nor's making it possible so that there's a way Lao families can enjoy Xieng Mieng no matter what your budget. It's a great way to get Lao voices and culture out into the world. Let's make this happen for him.

My theory is that if we can find at least 10 families in each states, we'll be able to raise enough to make this the book it's meant to be. So, if you can visit his kickstarter page at and support him that would be great.

It's a modest project to start with, but the more we can overfund him, the more he can cover the costs to do it right. IF he can hit $10,000 it can be done in full color. But at $3,000 he can print a good version. I've seen what he's trying. It can be done.

But it's also not a project mainstream publishers like to take on yet, compared to, say, a proven character like Dora the Explorer or Sesame Street. So this is where Lao must love Lao.

For such a great project, it would be tragic if there were less than 10 copies in all of Minnesota, for example, considering there's over 12,000+ of us. Will you be one of those 10 families in your state that Xieng Mieng needs to truly be a success?

If you can't, can you help us spread the word to families who would like a book like this?

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