On February 12, Baitik elementary school kids presented a book they wrote, which will be available for use in the National Library for Children and Youth in Bishkek, according to Kyrgyz news agency Kabar.

The book titled "Baitik Kids" was not only written by school children, but was also illustrated.  The poems and stories are about friendship, motherland, tolerance, nature and animals.  The stories and short poems were gathered among kids who live in the Baitik region of Chui oblast.

The publication and professional illustrations were made possible by the Aga Khan Foundation Kyrgyz Republic and were funded by the Aga Khan Academies within the framework of the Family Reading Programme.

“We are delighted to promote our flagship Early Childhood Development (ECD) program through the implementation of such initiatives.  I can not stress this enough, but when kids get to see the pieces they have written themselves published – poems, essays and short stories – they become eager to achieve even bigger results, and they read even more” says Burulai Aitikulova, Senior Education Advisor with the Aga Khan Foundation.  She notes that by the time the program finished their book contest among Baitik children aged seven to ten years, they had collected 20 of their best works written in different genres.   

The Aga Khan Foundation has published more than 55 Kyrgyz language children's illustrated books since 2006.  Jamil Uddin, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation Kyrgyz Republic commented that these books have been developed by experts in the field of early reading, national artists and illustrators and cover topics such as pluralism, culture, tolerance, diversity and respect for nature and animals.  Books developed and published by the Aga Khan Foundation’s education program are used by more than 2,200 schools in the country.