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M’laya gets spotlight at Bologna Book Fair

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, May 8: Meghalaya’s rich cultural heritage took centre stage at the prestigious Bologna Book Fair in Italy, as two publications — The Tunes of Kongthong by Auswyn Winter Japang and P Mario K Pathaw, and When a Huro Sings by Nandan Joshi and Imlijungshi Ltr — were selected for display at the National Book Trust Exhibit in Italy from April 8 to 11.
These publications are the fruits of The Forgotten Folklore Project (TFFP) initiated by the Sauramandala Foundation, dedicated to creating locally contextual solutions through its Centre for Accelerated Development (CFAD) framework.
The Bologna Book Fair is renowned for showcasing the finest in children’s literature and illustration worldwide.
Lanuangla Tsudir, who leads The Forgotten Folklore Project, expressed excitement about the project’s future impact on early childhood education and cultural preservation.
“The Forgotten Folklore Project addresses the lack of contextually relevant educational materials for children in the region while preserving Meghalaya’s cultural heritage,” Tsudir explained to The Shillong Times.
On the impact these books will have on children’s literature and cultural exchange, especially considering their selection for display at events like the Bologna Book Fair, Tsudir, explained, “Something like the TFFP at this scale and detail has never been done in the Northeast at least, and we are so proud to say that Meghalaya is setting the benchmark. We hope that the TFFP books will inspire a new generation of readers and storytellers while fostering cross-cultural exchange and understanding. By showcasing Meghalaya’s folklore on an international stage, we aim to promote cultural diversity and appreciation while enriching the landscape of children’s literature.”
Both books, published by Storywell Books, were nominated to represent Meghalaya’s folklore diversity on the global stage.
The process of selecting and developing these books involved extensive collaboration with local storytellers, artists, and community members. Stories were curated from traditional folklore, adapted into children’s storybooks, and illustrated to showcase Meghalaya’s cultural richness.
The Tunes of Kongthong and When a Huro Sings serve as cultural artifacts preserving Meghalaya’s folklore and traditions, instilling pride and connection to cultural roots among children and families.
She envisions these publications as catalysts for dialogue, learning, and transformation in the landscape of children’s literature and early childhood education.
Tsudir also mentioned that TFFP contributes in preserving and promoting the folklore and cultural heritage of Meghalaya, adding, “By sharing these stories with children and families, we aim to instil a sense of pride and connection to their cultural roots while ensuring that these narratives are passed down to future generations. These publications also provide a platform for local storytellers, budding writers, and artists to showcase their talents and preserve the oral traditions of Meghalaya.”
It may be mentioned that The Forgotten Folklore Project was born out of a gap that Sauramandala Foundation observed on the field.

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