Encourage Culture of Reading in Malaysia – Jom Baca!

“Jom Kita Bincang!” featured 2 exhibitions and a “Swedish little library” at the Raja Tun Uda Library in Shah Alam, where visitors can learn about how sustainability, health, and social issues can be furthered through children’s literature. (Photo: The Star/Azlina Abdullah)

Reading is more than just literacy – it’s also about learning the skills needed to build a better world and a brighter future. But research shows that both reading habits and comprehension among young people worldwide are declining.

To strengthen reading ability among young Malaysians, Swedish Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Joachim Bergstrom reached out to leading Swedish organisations involved in the children’s literature scene, such as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the Swedish Arts Council and the Swedish Institute, about working together on a project.

The result is Jom Kita Bincang! (Let’s Talk About It!), a children’s book exhibition – that showed at Raja Tun Uda Library in Shah Alam, Selangor last month. The exhibition explores how children’s literature can further the dialogue on sustainability, health, rights and other social issues.

“Children’s literature can be a big inspiration for young minds and society at large. If we all grow up with stories valuing respect for each other and for nature, socially and environmentally sustainable policies and behaviours will naturally follow,” says Bergstrom. (Star, 16 March 2024).

A group of young children spending a recent quiet weekend at the “Swedish Little Library” at Raja Tun Uda Library in Shah Alam. (Photo: The Star/Azlina Abdullah)

“In collaboration with Bernama and the Malaysian government, Jom Kita Bincang will now meet Jom Baca, the annual national reading campaign that is a shining example of the kind of efforts needed to strengthen reading skills,” he revealed in a letter to the press (Star, 23 April 2024).

The Jom Kita Bincang exhibition is expected to travel to Penang in May and Kuching, Sarawak in June.

The public is encouraged to support this wonderful initiative. Jom Baca!