A child’s brain develops faster than any other period of life during the first six years, commonly referred to as the “Golden Years”, this early development influence the child’s brain and motor skills development that they’ll bring with them in the future.
In 2015, when first-generation-born Cambodian American Vickie Hong was pregnant with her first child, she was trying to build a little library where her growing family can sit and enjoy books that resonates with their Khmer roots. She was able to get a few books to add to their family library, however, she couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for.
Vickie doesn’t want her kids to miss out on those impressionable early years so after a long search, in December of 2020, she decided that she would publish a bilingual children’s book to get her children and the young generation into reading books and connect with their Khmer roots.
“I truly believe that this book will help fill the gap that is desperately needed in bilingual Khmer children’s books as it will include a transliteration to help phonetically read the Khmer language throughout the book,” Vickie told the AHN community.
Vickie’s engaging illustrated book is a retelling of a classic Cambodian tale of a mermaid princess “ Sovann Macha ” which also means golden fish in Khmer. The story is written in Khmer and English with transliteration to help the reader phonetically pronounce each word as the Khmer script uses abugida symbols.
“I also wanted characters that are instantly recognizable by the Khmer community but still original and aimed for children between 2 – 7 years of age.” she added.
The book also includes a 2-page glossary at the end of the book of the most common Khmer words and their transliteration and translation.
She grew up in a city with a significant Cambodian population and learned to read and write Khmer during her high school years in an after-school program that was offered by their local community.
Now, a mother of three, she is working on her 2nd book, a retelling of another classic Khmer tale of why it thunders when it rains, “ Moni Mekhala ”.
Support these books to connect multiple Khmer generations!
Kickstarter: Moni Mekhala