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Southeast Asian collection expands children’s library

Published: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Northern Illinois University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a display of Southeast Asia-themed children’s books at the DeKalb Public Library. The books are available for checkout through Jan. 31.

Library visitors are invited to browse through the 68 volumes ranging from picture books for young readers to chapter books, some nonfiction, for middle-school readers. Titles include “Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella,” “Brothers Wu and the Good Luck Eel,” “Malaysian Children’s Favorite Stories,” “Nine-in-One, Grrr, Grrr!,” “Peek: A Thai Hide and Seek,” “Rice is Life,” “Song of the Buffalo Boy” and “The Dancing Pig.” All of the books are written in English or are bilingual. A few are translations of favorite American storybooks, such as “The Rainbow Fish,” which is available in the languages of Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“Exploring these books is a great way for children to learn about this part of the world,” center outreach coordinator Julia Lamb said in a news release. “Some of the books include Southeast Asian arts and crafts activities as well as wonderful stories and folk tales.”

During its 50th year, the center also is welcoming the public to a number of free activities on campus, Lamb said.

The center was established in 1963 after NIU was chosen in 1961 to be one of the first Peace Corps training centers in the country for volunteers headed for Malaysia. Today, the interdisciplinary center teaches six of the seven major Southeast Asian languages and is one of seven federally funded National Resource Centers for Southeast Asian Studies. Its faculty experts, past and present, are known worldwide in fields as diverse as anthropology, art history, history, language, political science, music and geography.

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