Thursday, August 22, 2013

Laos Creative Literacy Project

Another literacy project gaining momentum in Laos, this time developed by a group of Australians. It can join Room to Read, Big Brother Mouse, and a number of other ventures doing similar work, especially in the rural zones.

In the US, we might ask what is being done to address Lao American literacy, which should be a significant concern given current figures, especially in Minnesota.

From the Australia Network News: Laos literacy project gaining momentum

You can view the project directly at: although there's not much to the website yet. I'll see what we can do to get a more in-depth interview with them so that you can understand their work in context.

I've brought this up in the past, but I will point it out again that in the last 40 years, we have less than 40 Lao American children's books. Less than one per state after nearly half a century, for a community that can form a city the size of Modesto at 200,000+.

We are barely putting out one a year now as an expat community.

We can and must expect more of ourselves.

An average children's story is less than 600 words in today's industry. Less than 3 sheets of paper at 250 words. But all reports suggest we have hardly any in a state of near completion to even consider publishing by 2014. If we are going to change this by 2020 we need to buckle down and reduce barriers internally and externally.

To be clear: our body of children's literature must not be only rehashing folk tales or our escape stories. There is certainly a place for those, but to exclusive focus on them? That's ultimately a dead end.

Instead, we ought to consider a story like My Neighbor Totoro, where the culture is firmly embedded throughout the story but the story is not about being Japanese. It's not an East-West Old Country-New Country cliche.

Lao need great works that sing to the heart of our values.

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