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Stunning Vietnamese Children's Book Wins Asia-Wide Prize

When it comes to reading materials for kids, Vietnam is full of small, inexpensive paperbacks, but seldom does the country produce a colorful, high-quality storybook like The First Journey.

Created in just two weeks by author-illustrator team Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, the children's book recently took home the Scholastic Picture Book Award, an Asia-wide honor presented by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and Scholastic Asia. Their unpublished story, filled with dramatic, vivid illustrations of the Mekong, beat out 135 other entries from across the continent.

The First Journey tells the story of An, a young boy who crosses the Mekong Delta for the first time on his way to school, encountering floods, snakes and a mysterious forest with a giant crocodile.

Through workshops and collaborations with Room to Read, a nonprofit organization which works to promote children's literacy in developing countries around the world, the duo were able to complete the book and submit it to the contest for consideration.

Since winning the honor, Quang and Lien have managed to become independent authors, creating their own high-quality childrens' books in a country where engaging and age-appropriate reading material is hard to come by.



[Photos via Room to Read and Medium]

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