By the staff of Franklin Central Junior High School
Franklin Central Junior High is celebrating a personal achievement of current seventh-grader Jessica Langpar. Jessica, who was born in Mandalay, Myanmar, recently published a book of 14 Chin folktales in honor of her cultural heritage.
Jessica’s family is from Hakha, Chin State, an area in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar (Burma). Her parents were raised in Myanmar for most of their lives, but her father came to the U.S. to attend college at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, and then Luther Seminary in Minnesota. At the age of 1, Jessica and her mother moved to America to be with her father.
“I have always enjoyed Chin folktales since I was very young,” Jessica said. “My mother used to tell them to me as bedtime stories. My father and I had been listening to a Chin YouTube channel orally telling some of the traditional folktales, which led me to writing one of the stories, ‘Ngun Nu and Her Sister’ for fun in my notebook. When my parents, who had already noticed my love for writing, found out, they suggested I make a book about Chin folktales and I thought it’d be a fun experience, so I agreed.”
“I decided to publish the tales as a book after my parents read my written version of the tale of ‘Ngun Nu and Her Sister,’” she continued. “They were the ones who suggested I make and publish the book. This occurred back in spring of 2020, a little before quarantine. I started around the beginning of quarantine and I finished writing the book by September. Then, there was the editing, proofreading, endorsements and whatnot. A few days before Christmas, I heard the news that it was published!”
Readers can purchase Jessica’s book of folktales, the first to ever be translated into English, at Chin Brothers Grocery in Southport, Van Family Grocery in Southport, Indy Asian Grocery in Greenwood and Kimu Restaurant in Greenwood.