Good books and a love of reading are things which teachers all around the world love to have in abundance. One thing that has made me sad over the years is visiting classrooms in Timor-Leste where only the teacher has a book (usually a text book, not a story book). So a few years ago, my dear friends and writers and designers of books, Lee and Kevin Burgemeestre, and I sat down and decided to get a little project off the ground to help put beautiful books into the hands of Timor-Leste's kids.
To date we have produced ten titles on a range of subjects, including family violence (dealt with in an age-appropriate and culturally sensitive way), environmental degradation, disability, female resistance heroins and the solar system. The book "Haree ba Lalehan" or "Look to the Sky" is the first book ever produced in the Tetum language on the planets and stars!
Take a look at some of the books we have produced here:
"Muki: Rosa Bonaparte Soares's Diary" is a book which Xanana and I wrote about an amazing young woman who founded the first Timorese women's organisation in 1975. She lost her life at the time of Indonesia's brutal invasion of Timor-Leste. Her story is written in the form of historical fiction.
I am in the process of translating this book into English, so keep coming back here for updates!
"Sara Nia Luta" or "Sara's Struggle" follows the story of a young girl, Sara, and her experience of verbal and emotional violence at home. The story and her troubled relationship with her older brother take a surprise and happy twist at the end.
Click on the cover image to read the full text in Tetum online.
“New Books for a New Nation” is an exciting and vital initiative which will ensure that Timor-Leste’s new Basic Education curriculum succeeds in making learning relevant and enjoyable for children in Timor-Leste.
Visit our Facebook page and find out how you can contribute to improving learning outcomes for the kids of Timor-Leste through the New Books for a New Nation initiative!
We need an ongoing stream of funds to continue to deliver quality books to Timor-Leste's classrooms. This is one we are working on at present. It is a biography of resistance leader and national hero, Nino Konis Santana: