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The Tiny Boy and Other Tales from Indonesia

Written by Murti Bunanta

Illustrated by Hardiyono

  • 80 Pages
  • 9781554981939
  • 9.5" x 6.25"
  • Reading age to 9
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Nature & the Natural World (see also headings under Animals)
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Asia


Publication Date October 01, 2013

Eight tales about heroes and sacrifice, love and family - all rooted in a land that is both challenging and abundant. Some of the stories strike a familiar chord. There is the tiny child, no bigger than a thumb, who outwits a giant; the poor farmer who cannot feed his children and leaves them abandoned in the forest; the princess who breaks an enchantment and releases a prince. Yet the tales are filled with the unexpected, too, as humans, monsters and the natural world transform and intersect.

A princess who is pursued by two kings from neighboring kingdoms sacrifices herself to keep peace in the land, and is transformed into a sea creature that will provide nourishment for all her people. A crying baby, ignored by his mother, turns into a bird, teaching villagers a valuable lesson. A jealous concubine poisons the king's son so her own child can inherit the kingdom, only to find her son going off to search for his half-brother, never to return. A man traps the sun to stop it from setting, so that his family and fellow villagers will have enough time to gather food.

The stories are exceptionally relevant today, as they draw our attention to the value of the odd and the small, the preciousness of children and our natural resources, the need to not take our food for granted.

Gathered from oral sources and old collections written in Dutch and indigenous languages, these folktales are simply and evocatively told, accompanied by startling and vibrant images by Indonesian artist Hardiyono.

Royalties from the sale of this book will go to INABBY for work with children in crisis.


Murti Bunanta
Murti Bunanta is a pioneer in Indonesia, working to promote the reading habit and the quality of children's literature. She is the first person to receive a doctorate from the University of Indonesia using research in children's literature as the topic for her dissertation. She is also the founder and president of the Society for the Advancement of Children's Literature (Kelompok Pencinta Bacaan Anak, established in 1987), a non-profit organization that promotes activities to develop children's reading in Indonesia. Murti is the founder and president of the Indonesian chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People (INABBY). She organized the highly successful Motorbike Libraries in Aceh Province and other areas that suffered disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. They are now used by organizations all over the country when there is a disaster, and Murti can often be found traveling with the Motorbike Libraries, reading to children within days of an earthquake.

Hardiyono is a graduate of the Indonesia Fine Art Academy. His illustrations have appeared in more than two dozen books. Also a renowned glass painter, Arabic calligrapher and sculptor, he has received various awards for his work and was the first winner of the children's book illustration contest held by INABBY (Indonesian Board on Books for Young People) in 1991. In 2008 he was named to the IBBY Honour List for Masarasenani dan Matahari (Masarasenani and the Sun).