The Asia Foundation is creating its ninth BookLab in Cambodia to produce 10 more children’s books for its Let’s Read digital library.

The free library is available on the foundation’s website and app and the project is sponsored by telecom firm Smart Axiata Co Ltd.

In a joint press release issued on Monday, the Asia Foundation said it also worked with ChildFund Cambodia to create a forum for writers to engage and learn from children and get input for story writing.

Asia Foundation Country Representative Meloney C Lindberg said the stories for this ninth bookmaking event centre around families, communities and friendship.

“In this BookLab, the Foundation has embarked on a new approach in making children’s storybooks by asking children early in the story development process what interests them most.

“I hope that by collecting their ideas and working with writers, this will lead to children’s increased interest in reading,” she said.

Smart Axiata Corporate Affairs head Tivea Koam said including children’s opinions in the process of writing stories truly makes those books better.

“Incorporating children’s thoughts in the BookLab definitely brings books’ quality to the next level. I hope that students will be able to enjoy the books that they have voiced their opinions and dreams.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, e-books are even more relevant and helpful to their reading and learning process,” he said.

ChildFund country director Prashant Verma said it was wrong to assume that Cambodian children do not like reading.

“Children are the real judge of which books they enjoy reading. Consulting girls and boys ensure that educational development agencies are able to produce a variety of cultural, age, and interest-appropriate reading resources.

“We believe there is a direct correlation between access to quality books, enjoyment of reading and increased reading performance,” he said.