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Competition for kids' books

A competition for authors of children's books written in the Khmer language has been

announced by local NGO Reyum, whose director hopes it will promote literacy and a

love of reading among the nation's youth.

"We will especially welcome submissions which draw on ordinary people in ordinary

life situations," said Reyum's Ly Daravuth. "We will consider only new

and entirely original manuscripts, and writers will have to show a good understanding

of the psychology of children."

He said the competition would invite submissions which offered positive role models

for children, showing examples of characters who teach children to be honest, kind

and try their best in life's many situations.

Daravuth said a lack of children's books stifled their interest in reading when growing

up, which resulted in general illiteracy. That, he said, gave rise to poor knowledge

in adulthood.

The secretary of state at the Ministry of Education and Sport, Pok Than, endorsed

the project, saying that children have access to too few books. This competition

would help.

"This competition will assist in providing a better education to Cambodian children,"

said Than. "Such things do help our education efforts."

Reyum will print the winning entries and give some free to schools. Others will be

sold, with profits either donated to related programs or used to finance new books.

"The books we will run in this catalog are the first titles in what we hope

will be a continuing series of original books for Cambodian children," he said.

Authors are invited to submit books that appeal to children in three different age

categories between five and 12 years. First prize is $300, decreasing to $50 for

the fourth and fifth best submissions, sponsored by Japan's Kasumisou Foundation.

The deadline is September 30, 2002.

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