Rosidayati Rozalina, left, head of Indonesian Publishers Associations, or IKAPI, Ricky Joseph Pesik of Bekraf and AFCC board adviser Murti Bunanta speak at YELLO Hotel Harmoni in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (02/05). (JG Photo/Diella Yasmine)

Indonesian Children's Stories to Take Center Stage at Singapore Book Festival


MAY 03, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesian children's books, folktales and culture will take center stage at this year's Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore, a representative of the Creative Economy Agency, or Bekraf, announced in Jakarta on Tuesday (02/05).

The Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) is an annual event meant to celebrate and promote children's books and literature from the region, alternating its thematic "country of focus" each year.

The festival connects writers and illustrators with publishers to share, network and celebrate children's content from Asia and from around the world.

The event will feature discussions with writers and researchers of children's books and provide interactive educational sessions for those interested in learning about animation and other illustrative techniques used in children's content.

More than 200 books from Indonesian authors will be showcased at the event, including "Didgit Cobbleheart Loves the Flora and Fauna of Western Indonesia," by Aang Muljanto, "Indonesian Folktales," by Fatimah Zahra, "A Gift for Komi," by Fina Faza and "Mrs. Duck and Mrs. Hen," by Fitra Hayanti.

Murti Bunanta, an AFCC board adviser and president of the Indonesian-based Society for the Advancement of Children’s Literature (KPBA), said reading often is important for children's cognitive and emotional development.

"Storybooks are crucial to stimulate imagination, provoke curiosity and provide inspirations to help readers develop an appreciation for art and writing," she said.

Murti added that books help children learn new and complex words, develop literacy skills and enhance cultural awareness.

"This is why we aim to help children develop a love for reading. We want to ensure that no child grows up without books," she said.

According to Murti, this year's AFCC will promote children's stories on Indonesian food and folklore, among other topics.

"Indonesia is a diverse nation and home to numerous ethnic groups that influence folklore and fantasy."

Nearly 40,000 books are published in the country each year, a majority of which are children's stories.

In recent years, more and more publishers have been teaming up with international partners to promote Indonesian children's books around the world, Indonesian Publishers Association (IKAPI) head Rosidayati Rozalina said.

"I hope that the event will increase the sale of children's books in foreign markets," she said. "In a bid to promote and develop budding partnerships with various institutions, IKAPI prepared a sales coordinator to link domestic and foreign publishers."

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of Bekraf Ricky Joseph Pesik said the agency will provide festival-goers with educational lessons in Indonesian folklore and geography at its manned booth.

"Bekraf fully supports the AFCC in selecti'ng Indonesia as this year's 'country of focus.We want to promote the very best of Indonesian children's books."

AFCC events will be held at several venues in Singapore, including the National Library, on May 17-21.