Crane Boy is the 7th picture book by award winning author & educator Diana Cohn (www.dreamcarver.org) and is being illustrated by award winning author/illustrator/educator Youme Landowne. The book tells the story of a young Bhutanese boy named Kinga who learns that the beautiful Black-necked crane, that have migrated to his village from Tibet for thousands of years, is facing gradual threats from modernization. He wants to find ways to help the birds. Inspired by the centuries old tradition of ‘tsechus’ (festivals) in Bhutan, where songs and dances tell stories and teach lessons, Kinga and his classmates decide to create a new festival that would celebrate the arrival of the cranes to their Valley. But first they must observe the cranes and then create a dance!
With help from the monks at the village monastery, a brand new festival is born and Kinga and his classmates create the ‘crane dances’ to show their knowledge and love of the cranes. The festival is now an annual event in Bhutan and takes place every November to coincide with the arrival of the cranes. The book, inspired by the real story of the Crane Festival also contains an afterward with information on the black-necked cranes and Bhutan.
The author and illustrator spent time together in Bhutan over a year ago. In Bhutan, Diana did focus groups on the manuscript in order to make fine edits and tweak the story based on meeting with the RSPN as well as with the educators at the Gangtey Monastery in the Phobjikha Valley (where the story takes place) and with teachers and school children at the local schools. Youme did extensive visual research and did the layout for the book.
The illustrated children’s book is about 40 pages, including an afterward and each book is a gift from many kind hearted individuals from USA, who have donated to make this book possible. Along with this book, RSPN also received a donation of USD Five Thousand (US$5,000) through Bhutan Friendship Foundation (USA) for crane conservation works in Phobjikha.
The book is scheduled to reach Bhutan in October 2015 and both Diana and Youme will be travelling in November to launch their book. Upon arrival in Bhutan it will be distributed to schools in the country through RSPN and other stakeholders. Indeed it is Coming soon to Bhutan!
For many children in Bhutan, this will be their first children’s book that reflects Bhutanese culture, brilliance, and talent. Crane Boyis published by Cinco Puntos Press (www.cincopuntos.com) has a publication date of September, 2015.
Both Diana and Youme have taught writing (and art) to students as elementary school teachers and as teaching artists. Their intention for this project goes beyond the book Crane Boy: that is to inspire and build collaboration with, and support the literary community in Bhutan, and be part of a new movement for children’s books.
Bhutan Friendship Foundation is the fiscal sponsor for Diana and Youme.
RSPN would like to wholeheartedly thank Diana, Youme and Michael D. McClelland, President of Bhutan Friendship Foundation for their kindness and Dasho Ugyen Rinzin and Mr. Karma Loday of Yangphel Adventure Travel for connecting RSPN to such lovely people.
Images extracted from the book.
Text edited by Tshering Phuntsho, for RSPN website, from original text available athttps://www.indiegogo.com/projects/books-for-bhutan#/story