In July 2021, twelve teachers from Malinau District and Tana Tidung District, North Kalimantan (Kaltara), were selected to participate in a training to write and create children’s storybooks based on local stories. The training was a partnership program supported by the INOVASI program and implemented by the Litara Foundation in Bandung in collaboration with both districts’ education offices.

Storybooks that were successfully published from Tana Tidung district are entitled; Bayoi, Buah Misterius, Lihat Rambutku, Memancing, Memasang Bubu, dan Memata. While from Malinau the published scripts are entitled; Garam Gunung, Mencari Lempesu, Panen Rotan, Panen Iraw, Perkedel Ikan Bubuk, dan Topi Jena.

Manager of INOVASI in Kaltara, Handoko Widagdo, said that children in Kaltara are highly interested in reading. The problem is that children often only have access to books that they find uninteresting. The Indonesian Education and Learning Innovation Survey (SIPPI) conducted by INOVASI in 2017 found that 84.76 per cent of children claimed to enjoy reading. However, the types of books they often read were dominated by school textbooks, amounting to 67.91 per cent. Only about 13.21 per cent read storybooks, 1.77 per cent read knowledge books, and the rest read comics, magazines, and others. “Our survey involved 540 students in 20 elementary schools in Bulungan and Malinau. We found that students mostly read school textbooks only. It resulted from only school textbooks being available in schools, while books that develop children’s interests were still lacking,” he added.

The training and development process of these books is expected to produce excellent children book writers in each district. The teachers could later use the experience obtained from this program to produce more children’s storybooks based on local culture. In addition, they could become coaches and mentors for other aspiring and new children’s book writers.

The partnership program of children’s storybook training was implemented participatively. INOVASI, through the LITARA foundation, was responsible for training the teachers who won in the competition. Training and mentoring session were carried out until the participants produced a mock-up of children’s storybooks that comply with international standards. The resulting books were written using the Big Book format.

The subnational government and the private sector would bear the cost of duplicating the children’s storybooks. In Tana Tidung District, the cost was covered by funds from the Regional Budget of the Education and Culture Office. Meanwhile, in Malinau District, PT Baramulti Adiperdana committed to financing the book procurement through a CSR program.

Read their storybooks by clicking pictures below!