Written by Suzanne Turnock (BNF Communications Team)
On 29 October, with the help of students from Pelangi School Bali, we launched our first children’s storybook ‘The Little Gibbon Who Lost His Song’ at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2016. We were so pleased to see people of all ages fill the venue and give their support to our book. The launch was an opportunity for us to share the story of how the book was created and why we felt it was important to publish a children’s book based on the white-bearded gibbon and the forest fires in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.
Students from Pelangi School have been working very hard in preparation for the launch as they created a special stage adaptation of the book. They have been practising their best animal sounds, from grunting bearded pigs to singing, swinging gibbons, to really bring the story of the Little Gibbon to life. The children have been in full creative flow recently as they not only created a play, but together with their music teacher, Sandrayati, they have also written a song in Indonesian about gibbons.
Now that the students have mastered the play in English, they are going to learn the performance in Indonesian and tour local schools in Bali. We are very grateful to Pelangi School for initiating this idea as it helps us share our conservation messages in other parts of Indonesia. The book has three main themes or messages that we want to share with children. Firstly, Borneo’s wildlife is amazing and very diverse, secondly, forest fires are a big problem and they are a threat to the forests and wildlife, but people can help. People can put out the fires and stop them spreading to protect the forest and all the animals that call it home.
We were fortunate to have David Metcalf as our MC for the book launch. David has been a long-term supporter of Borneo Nature Foundation as well as other environmental and education projects in Kalimantan, particularly those helping to support the preservation of Dayak culture, including Ranu Welum, Spirit of the Hornbill Dance Academy and Ransel Buku.
A big thank you to Vivienne Stimmel, Pelangi School and the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival for organising the event and providing this platform for us to reach out to more people in Indonesia.
If you would like to get your hands on a copy of ‘The Little Gibbon Who Lost His Song’, please email us at [email protected].