‘The Ako Project,’ a collection of six illustrated story books for children 4 to 10 years old, are original stories about the adventure of young lemurs in Madagascar. These are not textbooks! The stories, written by Dr. Alison Jolly, are exciting, beautiful, funny, sometimes scary.
In addition to some great story books, there are teachers’ guides in Malagasy and in English for using ‘The Ako Project’ materials in classrooms. The teachers’ guides help educators give instruction in science, literature, and languages.
The creative team includes scientists, like stories author Dr. Jolly, and Dr. Hantanirina Rasamimanana, who wrote the teachers’ guides. Wildlife artist Deborah Ross illustrated the book. They are designed by Melanie Kirchner McElduff. Read about the educators, sponsors, and other team members on the Lemur Conservation Foundation web site, ‘The Ako Project.’
Malagasy children have little material available about their natural heritage. Only 10% of the country has natural forest remaining. Most Malagasy never see a lemur in the wild, let alone on television or in a book. The goal of ‘The Ako Project’ is to enrich empathy for and knowledge about the extraordinary biodiversity of Madagascar.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation originated the project and publishes ‘The Ako Project’ materials in the USA. UNICEF prints ‘The Ako Project’ books and posters for schools in Madagascar. Bitika the Mouselemur is available through Durrell Wildlife in the United Kingdom. Commercial publication is planned for 2012 in China. You can get your set on the LCF web site, www.lemurreserve.org, or on Amazon.com.