Wild Dog partners with PNG charity to create children’s books
Children’s publisher Wild Dog Books has partnered with not-for-profit organisation Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) in Papua New Guinea to publish a series of books produced by local children.
BbP was founded in 2007 to establish children’s libraries and encourage reading and learning in marginalised PNG communities. It now operates 16 libraries across the country, which run literacy, numeracy and awareness programs, as well as regular library services.
Wild Dog publisher Andrew Kelly told Books+Publishing that he began collaborating with the organisation after attending a writing seminar organised by BbP director Anne-Sophie Hermann to encourage Papua New Guineans to create books for children.
Kelly said that while he’d previously donated a range of photographic nonfiction books to BbP, he wanted to provide more diverse rural-based non-Western books to encourage PNG children ‘to find themselves in the books they read’.
Two books have been created through the partnership so far. Our Village: Tatana Island is a photographic early reader book about life in a traditional PNG fishing village, created with the children of the Tatana Island village. ‘A group of children were given small digital cameras and they showed us around their village both inside and outside houses,’ said Hermann. ‘We met a nice array of pets as well—pigs, dogs, fish etc—and saw dinner being prepared and people enjoying village life.’ The second book is Buk bilong Koki Market, a story created by the children at Koki with help from Alison Lester.
Both books have been published by Wild Dog, with 3000 copies of each title to be distributed among PNG libraries and for sale in PNG and Australia. Kelly says he’s hoping to make around 10 books in total.
The first two books will be launched at an event at the Reading Room at Fitzroy Town Hall in Melbourne on 1 April. The event will also celebrate the announcement of Alison Lester as BbP patron, and the BbP’s support from other local publishers, including Oxford University Press, Hardie Grant Egmont and Wilkins Farrago.