In 2009 Bollygum was chosen as part of the Chinese Government’s civil reading program for school children in Guangzhou. It’s a great program where the Government choose a collection of books for each age group, packs them in an economical pack for parents to buy the children. the Government subsidise the cost to make them affordable. The children have a years worth of books to read, and the parents know that good books have been selected by the educators. The reading program is supported by a ‘book club’ where the children can complete fun activities around the books, enter competitions and receive reward points for the most books read. During the launch we presented the top readers of the province with prizes.
This was the first time an Australian story has been selected for the reading program. Our partner was the China Peace Publishing House, a subsidiary of Song Qing Lin Foundation. The Nanfing Media Group, in Guangdong Province was the first educational distributor to take up the rights, with an initial print-run of 50,000 copies, the largest print-run of an Australian book into China.
We were honoured that the famous Chinese translator, Professor Li Yao translated the book into Chinese. He loves Australian stories and has translated such works as Patrick White’s Tree of Man, and Seven Little Australians, as well as various best selling Chinese titles into English for the western market. We received a lovely message from him saying how much enjoyed the story. Professor Li Yao holds the positions of Member of the Chinese Writers” Association, Member of the China-Australia Research Association and Professor of the Academic Training College for International Officials affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce.
The Nanfang Reading Classification Research Centre held the launch at the Guangzhou Jinguang Exhibition Book Fair, reportedly the largest book fair in China. This was considered an important cultural exchange between Australia and China and was attended by the Cultural Counsellor from the Australian Embassy, Jill Collins.
“We need cultural exchanges. cultural intercourses create a win-win situation between China and Australia. We ought to share children’s books of high quality. We hope this cultural intercourse even is simply a good start of a very long journey in which more good Australian stories are introduced into China, and in turn a great variety of good Chinese children’s books are introduced into Australia, the children of both countries sharing the joy of reading” Jill Collins speech.