Schwiethale’s ‘ABCs of Cambodia’ exposes readers to Cambodian culture

About a year ago, Kiri Schwiethale found herself at a crossroads, thinking about how she would share her Cambodian culture with her two kids.

Her husband suggested a kids’ book. At the time, Schwiethale was set to participate in the 36 Days of Type, a challenge for designers, illustrators, and graphic artists to “express their particular interpretation of the letters and numbers of the Latin alphabet,” according to its website. A graphic designer by training, Schwiethale initially considered the challenge to push herself creatively. But after her husband’s suggestion, she combined it with her desire to share her heritage with her son and daughter—who were 4 and 3, respectively, at the time—to produce “ABCs of Cambodia.”

Schwiethale’s son was also learning and starting to recognize letters at the time, so a picture book using the alphabet to highlight different aspects of Cambodian culture was a way to learn his letters and about his background at the same time. In the book, Schwiethale, 29, has also translated the words into Khmer—including the word written in Khmer script, as well as its phonetic pronunciation in English.

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