When teachers at Da Nang Early Learning Center in Vietnam were asked to write a book for children they cared for – they couldn’t have imagined the incredible response.
Between them, 41 teachers wrote, designed, illustrated and made 43 books. Each will be used to entertain and educate a very special group of young children.
Set up by OneSky, the center cares for almost 250 children from the age of six months to six years old. Their parents are all rural migrants working in the surrounding factory zone.
“The aim was that it would encourage teachers to research what interests and motivates children,” said Vo Thi Hien, OneSky’s Vietnam Program Director. “In turn, their work would inspire the young children they care for and provide a big but cost-effective boost to our growing library.
“We could not have foreseen how amazing the response would be and the quality of entrants. This is a very special school and clearly, teachers have been inspired. What’s incredible to see is how their hard work is also inspiring the children they care for.”
A prize was given for the best book and to all entrants.
Miss Huong – first prize winner:
“I wanted to make this book so that children – even before they could read – could play with it and use it to tell their own stories. Even I’ve been surprised at how it’s fired children’s imagination when they’ve opened it and how each child interprets the same book differently.
“Having spent a lot of time and effort making this, I am so delighted and it feels like all hard work has paid off when I see the kids enjoying it”
Miss Hien – second prize winner:
“My book’s name is ‘Baby’s House’. The theme of this book is daily life. Things that are so familiar to each child. Their daily routines like brushing their teeth, tying their shoes and going to school.
“I have a son and have made a similar book at home for him. He really loves it and he’s so proud that his mother made it. I see how my own kid has benefited from books like this and wanted to do the same for the kids at OneSky – my second family!”
Miss Kieu – third prize winner:
“It took me 10 days to make this book. I’ve tried making something like this before for children in my class. I found that the two to three-year-old kids really love these kinds of books. Children at a young age can practice coordination and hand movement. They can also learn about shapes, colors and comparisons like big, small, high, and low.
“They particularly love practicing tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and zippers and that helps their real-life skills.”
Their books in their own words:
Miss Hung illustrated her own book. She wrote the story to encourage children to develop good habits and good manners.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to inspire a lasting love of reading in the children, their parents and our teachers too. I always encourage parents to read to their children in the classroom when they come and pick their children up. At first, some parents just sit by their children and observe. Now, parents come and read books to all the children, not just their own child.”
Miss Trang wrote and illustrated a book called “When toys can speak” – about how toys feel when they’re not looked after.
“The idea came when I was tidying the toys away and found a doll under the cabinet. I wanted to teach children tidiness and the importance of empathy and compassion. I think children will find it easy to relate as I’ve included pictures of their own toys.”
Miss Ly wrote and illustrated a book called “Friendship”.
“Through this book, I want to teach children that friendship and love should not be based on appearance or skin color. I wanted to tell them that personality is much more important than how people look. Children also learn that friendship lasts longest when they’re kind to their friends. They will be treated just as they treat others.”