Some time back, my friend Cherie contacted me to ask if N would be keen to write a story about our family’s relocation to Jakarta. She told me a little about The Birthday Collective, and how they were compiling stories from children for the inaugural edition of The Birthday Book Junior this year. I thought it was a really meaningful project, and got N to work on his story quickly.
To be honest, it was really difficult for me to NOT give him any input at all while he was writing his story. He focused on what seemed like mundane things to me: going to the airport in a taxi for example, but I realised that those were probably the events that stood out most to him. I helped him a little with the spelling and punctuation of dialogue, because his story would seem too confusing otherwise, but the storyline was entirely his. We relocated when he was just four years old, and his primary concern was that he wouldn’t have any friends here in Jakarta. Thankfully, he is an easy-going and sociable child, and was able to make new friends easily. In fact, he is still very close to M, the first friend he made in Jakarta, and I loved how he tried to draw M accurately, right down to his crew cut.
Proud contributor to The Birthday Book Jr
Parts of his story
‘The Birthday Book Jr – The Roads We Take’ contains 54 stories written by children aged between four to thirteen, and it was humbling to read such deeply personal accounts. I was personally touched by many of these stories, and have shared some of them in the photos below. Jonas’ story is particularly close to my heart, because I know his mum personally, and prayed alongside her and her family throughout his ordeal. You can read more about Jonas’ battle with Juvenile Dermatomyositis HERE.
Part of Jonas’ story
Some other interesting stories
‘The Birthday Book Jr – The Roads We Take’ is a beautiful tribute to the diversity we have in Singapore, and especially meaningful because it is written by children, for children. The book can be purchased directly from The Birthday Collective website HERE, and they also provide the option for people to contribute to the Pay It Forward Initiative, which allows friends of the Collective to sponsor books (at a discount) for educational, charity or non-profit organisations to use in their programmes.
Happy reading and shopping!
BUY THE BOOK
PS. Enter “CHRISTMAS10” at checkout to enjoy 10% off all items.
PPS. The Birthday Collective held their inaugural film competition in partnership with ITE College Central this year, and you can watch the entries on YouTube HERE.