It's that time of year when everyone is looking back and making their Top 10 lists so we decided to make one of our own -- Top 10 children's books that Room to Read created and published in 2010!
10. The Snake Who Wants to Buy a Shoe (Cambodia) This charming picture book tells the story of a little snake who asks the crab, the spider, the cricket, the frog, and a little girl to figure out how much he should spend if he only needs to buy one shoe. Skillfully weaving collage and paper folding in its illustrations, this delightful story introduces everyday math concepts to children. A product of our writers workshop, this book is the Room to Read debut of Mr. Sun Try, a senior student of Khmer Literature and Mr. Yuom Kosal, a young artist and book designer with exceptional skill, attention to detail and an aesthetic vision that sets the illustrations in this book apart. Kosal’s participation in the Room to Read illustrators’ workshop prompted his first experiments in collage.
9. Who Makes the Best Papaya Salad? (Laos) The animals in the forest take pride in their own -- often secret -- recipes. But in order to make the most delicious papaya salad, a traditional dish in Laos, the animals need to learn to work together. A product of our writers and illustrators’ workshops, this is the first book written by Miss Manivanh Siphonesay working in collaboration with Mr. Nivong Sengsakoun, an award-winning local artist.
8. Thili’s Journey (South Africa) Thili’s middle finger tickled and itched, but she didn’t dare scratch it because she believed the superstition heard from her elders that this would chase away her chance for future money and luck. She was also superstitious of lizards and frogs, bees and crabs, rats and locusts, butterflies, and even chameleons. Because of all her fears, Thili never made the journey through the lush, green valley to visit Grandma vho-Nyawa...until now. Thili’s Journey is a story about a little girl’s adventures with fantastical superstition, folk and mythical beliefs that she has to conquer during her visit to her grandmother. The story, originally written in the Tshivenda language, is by poet and fictionist Gudani Ramikosi and illustrated by Jonas Mailula.
7. Traditional Riddles (Vietnam) This book promises to engage and delight countless Vietnamese children in riddle-solving. A compilation of humorous folk riddles passed on for generations, this book was put together by Miss Le Phuong Lien, who has written over 250 titles in teaching and learning for primary schoolchildren in Vietnam, in collaboration with artist Do Bien Thuy.
6. Mini’s Rainbow (Bangladesh) Mini the Kitten wakes up one morning and sadly sees that the rainbow had lost its colors. To bring the rainbow back to life, Mini seeks the help of the blue sky, the rooster, the kingfisher, the mustard field and the orange tree. One of the first Room to Read titles in the Bangla language, Mini's Rainbow is written by Shaheen Aziz, a local long-time author of children’s books, and illustrated by Sabyasachi Hazra, Bangladesh’s most prolific artists with over two thousand book cover designs in his portfolio.
5. The Power of Friendship (India) The Power of Friendship is a story about a group of numbers: Number One is new to the neighborhood and is having a hard time making friends; the other numbers think of him as unequal. Along the way, Number One meets Zero who, similarly, has no friends. In the end, they realize the added “value” of their friendship as the two digits stand right next to each other to form the Number Ten. This early reader book was written by Govind Sharma, India’s award-winning children’s book author and was illustrated by a young artist, Mehul Navodit, who was recently highlighted by CBS News about his contributions to Room to Read's Local Language Publishing program.
4. On the Road to Visit Grandpa (Bangladesh) Join Dragonfly aboard her leaf car on a magical, rhyming adventure to see Grandpa. Along the way Dragonfly encounters different characters, each with something to offer that Dragonfly picks up for her grandfather. This book was written by the Room to Read Bangladesh Literacy Team and illustrated by Sabyasachi Hazra.
3. The Red Flower (Nepal) A rabbit froze in the cold weather. Nearby, a fox and a vulture argue about who will take the rabbit away. Will the rabbit manage to escape? You'll have to read it to find out what happens in this tale with a strong traditional feel. Illustrated by Bhisma K. C. and written by young author Mr. Yashu Shrestha, The Red Flower was developed during a Room to Read writers' workshop held in collaboration with the Danish Writers Association and the Nepal Society for Children’s Literature.
2. Unjani (How Are You?) (South Africa) Unjani is a foundation phase book containing photos and illustrations depicting various facial emotions of children in South Africa with accompanying text in simple and predictable language to define each emotion. Originally written in English and the Xhosa language, and translated into five other languages (Afrikaans, Sepedi, Siswati, Xitsonga, and Tshivenda), the book is written by local author/illustrator Hillary Atkinson who worked with students in Khayelitsa through an organization that promotes skills training.
1. Baby Fish Goes to School, 2nd ed. (Sri Lanka) Originally published in 2006, Baby Fish Goes to School is the story of a baby fish who wants to go to school but discovers he can’t because he lives in water. Written by a 15-year old girl, the story won a creative writing competition organized by Room to Read and was illustrated by a 17-year old student who had won national art awards. In 2006, it was the first children’s book these girls had published. The first-edition book was written for advanced readers and thus, it was text-heavy and included three languages within one book. This new 2010 edition has been updated by the same writer and artist and is now being published with separate Sinhala- and Tamil-language versions. In addition, the story is now geared toward beginning readers so language has been simplified with less text and more basic vocabulary. It also includes an illustrated learning activity to teach about other animals that live in water.
In many developing countries, finding children’s books that are relevant to the local context and written in the local language is difficult. Our Local Language Publishing program develops materials from the ground up by tapping emerging and established local writers and illustrators. Room to Read now publishes in 23 languages across Asia and Africa. The titles above are just 10 out of 120 titles that Room to Read published in 2010. Learn more about our Local Language Publishing program.