This September, the students at Jakar Higher Secondary School in central Bhutan wrote their first book. It was a collection of stories and poems called We Are Bhutan.
The book was first published on Amazon, where it currently ranks as the #43 best-selling book in its category. Students used these profits to pay for printing the book here in Bhutan. They printed 1,000 copies and have already sold almost half of them.
The project was organized by BCF teacher Mr. Evan, who collected the stories, helped the student editors, and sold the book to its American publisher. “This was a really cool project,” Mr. Evan said, “but the students did most of the work. I just got them started.”
To celebrate the book’s release, all student writers gathered on 5 October for a book signing and pizza party. Over 80 students were in attendance, along with the school’s vice principal. The party was hosted by Mr. Evan, who helped the eight tables of students autograph as many books as possible.
“I think it will really inspire others to write for our next book”
-Tshering Wangmo, grade 9 student
“I felt very happy to attend this party, and I think it will really inspire others to write for our next book,” said Tshering Wangmo, a student from Grade 9 who contributed two poems.
Also among the guests were the four students who won international awards with their writing: Dorji Wangchuk (Grade 10), Tila Rupa Chhetri (11), Amandika Thapa (9), and Tandin Tshering (10). Their stories and poems received special recognition, each winning an award in America.
“I was really surprised when I saw my poem in a magazine,” said Tandin Tshering, the most recent winner. “The publisher didn’t even tell me I won. They just sent me a copy of the magazine.”
As for We Are Bhutan, the students hope to sell the remaining copies within the next two months. They plan to set up a booth during next week’s tshechu (festival) and sell to all the visiting tourists.
“Once we raise enough money,” Mr. Evan said, “we will use it to print our second book in January.”
This story was written by Choki Om. Choki is a grade 9 student in Evan Purcell’s class. Congratulations to the students at Jakar Higher Secondary School for publishing We Are Bhutan – this is an incredible accomplishment! And thank you Choki for taking the time outside of publishing a book to share this story!
You can purchase We Are Bhutan here.