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Bug book introduces Lao insects

A love of Laos combined with many years spent learning about the lives of insects in this country has lead to entomologist Mr John J.S Burton publishing a new book this year, titled ‘Insects Are Everywhere.’
The book is authored by John J.S Burton and Gregory R. Ballmer and introduces insect species in Laos. The book is written in Lao and English to meet all target groups.
Some stories in this book describe about insects that are regularly found near your home, such as butterflies, ants, animal dung beetles and bees. This book is suitable for everyone to learn about the life of insects and also tells people what they can and cannot eat. 
Most of the stories are written in the voice of Lao children as they find insects in their backyard vegetable garden, rice fields or markets. The stories do not mention whether the child is boy or girl.

Various insect species are displayed in the book ‘Insects Are Everywhere’.

The science in the book is accurate and readers will see the story from the point of view of a child who finds insects everywhere and every day.
Here is an example of the story mentions in this book: the child explained that “I learned so much this week just by walking and watching. Insects are everywhere, especially beetles. I got an idea about their huge numbers, and how different they are, and how they fit in with their environment, and what they are related to. I understand that we do not want them to eat our crops, or give us disease, or eat our houses. But I also understand that other insects and their relative are important for pollinating our crops, for helping us to control the “bad” insects, for providing silk, and for giving people something different to eat.
“I asked Dad question about things I did not understand, and he knew a lot of answers because he is often in the fields. But I still have more questions, including the name of some of the insects, and why these black termites can come right out in the daylight and march down the fence rail while all the others are hiding in tubes or mounds. I wonder if my teacher next school year will have some answers.”
In addition, there are pictures of silk worms, the weaving industry, and fried insects in this book.
Mr Burton explained that along the way, readers get lessons in the beneficial versus harmful insects, camouflage versus conspicuousness, which ones are good to eat, and we are also taught to appreciate their beauty and diversity. There is even some humour in the story.
Although the narrator is a child, the book can be useful for people of all ages. Younger children may enjoy the photographs. The elder children may read the Lao language text. Students may be challenged by reading English, and even university students at biology faculties may appreciate the identification pages at the back of the book, Mr Burton said.
He thanked the Dokked Publishing House, the Cheuang Sombounkhan Foundation, Ms Lani Phaseuth, Dr Santi Saypanya and the Lao citizens for access to their premises, all of whom have contributed to completion of the book.
You can experience and share the beauty, strangeness, harmfulness, and deliciousness of insects in the book as you join a child in Laos on walks of discovery around a rural village. In this story you will gain an appreciation of nature through more than 240 colour photographs, all taken in Laos.
Some 5,000 copies of this book have been published by Cheuang Sombounkhan Foundation and sponsored by Ms Sichan Viphavanh, Ms Ali Pholsena and John J.S Burton.
He expects his new book will be popular for people of all ages who have never known too much about the life of insects in Laos.
‘Insects Are Everywhere’ is the second book Mr Burton has published in Laos.
His first book, ‘Lao Close Encounters’, was published in 2005 and aimed to promote the lifestyle and culture of Lao people to locals and foreigners.

By Sisouphan Amphonephong
(Latest Update July 3, 2017 )

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