|If the Stones Could Speak...|
In 2007, HeritageWatch will further its educational efforts with If the Stones Could Speak, a storybook promoting heritage preservation. Illustrated by the Cambodian artist Nhek Sophaleap, it follows the adventures of a group of magical statues at the temples of Angkor. Over the centuries, these statues face many challenges together, and eventually suffer the same fate as so many others - looting. But since this is a children's book, the story has a happy ending, and the statues are ultimately reunited at the National Museum.
If the Stones Could Speak will encourage a lifelong respect for cultural heritage among Cambodia's next generation. The book stresses the religious importance of ancient sites, especially to Buddhism, which is practiced by 95% of Cambodians. Children's books are a proven tool in the fight against the illicit wildlife trade, and HeritageWatch hopes this book will be equally successful in protecting cultural heritage.
If the Stones Could Speak will be distributed to disadvantaged children throughout Cambodia, but especially to those living in regions of the country where looting is heaviest. Distribution will take place in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and several non-profit groups working with children. HeritageWatch will also donate a number of copies to several major children's hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Heritage Watch would like to thank Chhun Tang, who volunteered his services as a professional designer on this project. This book would not have been possible without the support of Robert and Gina Davis, who generously funded both its production and distribution.