Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Queen Elizabeth Birthday and children reading interest in Indonesia

It was Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday celebration on 25th June. Well ... she was actually born on April 21, but her official birthday celebrations are held on June 17 to take advantage of warmer weather. Many celebrations were held for her birthday this year. It happened to reach people at BIS as well! We were given a piece of ' crown' biscuit with 80 written on it. Yummyy...They say that people who work in British companies would have been given similar biscuits to celebrate Queen's birthday. All over the world? You may ask for it!

However, I'm not writing about that yummy crown cake. It is how the Queen celebrate her birthday at Buckingham Palace, London. One of the celebrations was Children's Party at the Palace on June 25, 2006. The Queen invited about 2000 children in her formal garden parties.

The palace was conjured up into an attractive and amazing children area, including a spectacular stage show that quested whereabout Queen's handbag that consisted of her glasess and her birthday speech. The children were welcomed by a children entertainer and the Queen provided them with special healthy picnic lunch. There were also Pirate characters rowed across the lake in Buckingham Palace. The guests also would find Mr MacGregor's garden with its character, Peter Rabbit, Pooh's Howse , Teddy bear's Picnic table, and also author's corner.

There were about 20 Britain's leading children's author took part in the party and performed 5 minutes each story telling to the children. They were J.K Rowling who wrote Harry Potter series; Phillip Pulman (His Materials Trilogy); Eric Hill, Raymond Briggs, Michale Bond and Michale Morpurgo, a British Children Laureate. He told to Telegraph newspaper online that "we hope they will come away thinking..stories are fun to me. I love them. I even want to write one. Thats what we're trying to do.

More than that, the children even would be able to interact with the life-size Winnie the Pooh, Tiggy-Winkle, Thomas the Tang Engine, Rupert Bear, Mr Toad, Postman Pat, Fireman Sam, Dennis the Menace & Gnaster, and Womble who looked had fun with Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.

By the end of the celebration, Queen's handbag was found so that she would be able to read her birthday speech.

It was really to celebrate the magic of books with children.

Now...back to my country, Indonesia..who is still roaring that we need to develop our reading interest (to which many people against that opinion). Some people said that the interest of reading is there, however, the books to read are not there yet. Indonesian population is 250 millions people. There were 10.000 titles with 20 millions copies were published. It means that 1 book is read by 10 people. (Permanasari in Minat Baca 1, Kompas June 20, 2006 p.14). That's the problem. If we're talking about the reading books, we're talking about the books publication and the authors. If the Queen would be inviting Indonesian's children literature authors...who would be in the tent? Name it...
That's number one condition.

Secondly, many Indonesian people would prefer to buy food, clothes, shoes (it's not only for prestige purpose, but people need them in most areas in Indonesia!). On the other hand, the price of the books themselves are expensive. Library, should be the alternative way to have the free access for reading. Where? Which library? Public library? School library? We still face many factors that slow the process of the library development. One of them is, the lack of awareness of decision makers about the library's role to support reading habit among children. The library are very rarely in getting full attention of its development area.

Thirdly, the library is still seen as separate unit of the whole process of education. Starting from formal education level, the library at school should play the important role to trigger children's 'love to read' habit. Moreover, the library should be the place to where the students learn to be independent learners so that they would learn how to solve problems, in the school, and in the future! It may sound so ideal! But better start from the ideal situation to develop current circumstances, right?

To finish this writing, may be it would be interesting if government would allocate some fresh funding to get authors' interest to write and get their books published. Not only reading books but also curriculum supporting books to be available in school libraries.

or may be we can ask Mr President or Mrs President or anyone in SBY's cabinet to celebrate their birthday party with children in Kebun Raya Bogor, for instance, or Istana Negara and invite 10.000 children from all over the archipelago. At the same time, either government or/and publishers donate books to public libraries and school libraries or Rumah Belajar in suburbs or villages areas in Indonesia, especially those areas that got direct impact from earthquake and tsunami...

Or....

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