Page 1


s from A s e i r Sto

sasuni, a Village in B angl

a de


li v




h C i l f d o r e s n’s a v

Edited by Sergei Shubin Illustrated by Stefan Gibson

A talking book in English, Welsh, Sylheti and Cholitho Bashar (the villagers’ spoken language)

Project contributors: The children of Assasuni village, Bangladesh Sergei Shubin Tanjil Sowgat Will Andrews Nilufar Ahmed StĂŠphanie BarillĂŠ Tasmia Tashin for the translation and narration in Cholitho Basha Shaz Abedean for the translation and narration in Sylheti Elidir Jones for the translation in Welsh Tomas Morris for the narration in Welsh This is a PENpal book to listen in English, Welsh, Sylheti or Cholitho Bashar. This title is also published as an ebook with audio in the same languages. Visit for more information.

Audio Start Arrow

Touch the Start Arrow with PENpal and then select the language.

Listen in Cholitho Basha

Listen in Syheti

Information about the project

Listen in English

Listen in Welsh


gla de s

s iveh




h C i l d f r o e s n a ’ f A o s sasuni en r v d l i h , Ba s l n by c n

Edited by Sergei Shubin Illustrated by Stefan Gibson

Cursed by God






In a little village lived a young boy called Masum with his sister Jameela, his brother Hameed and their parents Rajib and Mouna. They were very happy.

They had a pla h e t e c r h e i l d h ren c ygrou w ould nd pla yc ri

ck et

, and play with their goats and chickens.

o dap a h ve n , T h e y e ll o f fi s h fu

The family grew plenty of food and could support others in the village if they wanted to. But they didn’t help anyone.


so they always had food to eat.

They also forgot to worship God. Their prayer mats lay unused even though they were kept with the water jugs which were used everyday.

The family had more than enough food, but they didn’t share any with their neighbours. Their full bellies made them lazy, too lazy to thank God. And God was very unhappy with them. There was no end to their greed.

One day, because of their selfishness, God cursed them with a cyclone storm which turned their lives upside down. The family lost everything and had to take shelter in the Cyclone Centre.

e cyclon e en th h W und their ho had p u fo ey eighbours’ ho se, p asse h T ir n me ond d, t e s h an h e h T ow d fa ev c r o m i l y e. . er p s m r o e we h a t u r n e d h w a y . re d b e e n s w e p t a e d not g so b a dly d a ma

The family were really upset as they had nothing left.

They tried to rebuild their lives, but God was not ready to help them until they changed their ways. And soon they realised what they had to do.

The family began praying to God every day and started to do good deeds. They visited the Mosque and shared their rice with poor people. They supported their neighbours and anyone who needed their help.

When God saw this, he removed the curse and returned all of their family possessions to them.

The children even had a new playground to play in. There were new pets, new crops and more fish in the pond. The family found joy and happiness through prayer and sharing with their neighbours in the village.

The whole village celebrated with a fair. They decorated their homes and children wore masks and flew kites.

People shared stories and food and everyone lived happily ever after!

Family with no friends







Moyna is 6 years old. She lives with her two brothers, Bilal who is 9 and Bahar who is 5 and their mum Jusna, dad Akash and their Daadi, who is her dad’s mum.

d loving family and y close an h r e v a need to be ha ave everyt r re e v e a d l u y o c e h in g ppy Th they s o e g r m a o n h d e p g a r rents a la t i h w t h e e v i l m d , l pets, cou a g r l d u e f i n t , u a beapets, a beautifulpgarden, ond fish swam in Theyahad n i g z a i r n g t eir fields cowscows grazedhin andpond, . their their fields, and a large home so their grandparents could live with them. They were so happy they didn’t need their They are sothat happy. friends or relatives, so they thought. “Who needs friendsorand relatives,” So they stopped visiting they think, and they stopthem. visiting them Then one day, their village is devastated by a deadly cyclone that shatters the family’s world as everything is destroyed. The cyclone swept over the land like a monster.

With all their possessions washed away, the family takes shelter in the Cyclone Centre.

Everything is gone, their home and animals all lost.

During this awful time, they have nowhere to turn for help

Jusna and Akash feel too afraid to ask their neighbours for help . All the other children are playing together, but‌

‌ Moyna and Bilal feel too embarrassed to join in.

So much is broken and gone that the family wonders how things could ever be whole again. Everywhere else, the community is helping each other to rebuild homes, fences and roads. But the family is all alone. They realise that life is very difficult without the love and support of friends and relatives.

It is time to change their ways.

Th e

ves y re i t a ac rel who h out to their friends and … ng they h ad ignored for so lo

…and are surprised to be met with open arms.

They join in helping everyone in the community. Moyna’s parents help the adults while Daadi looks after the children.

Akash and Jusna bring presents, and share rice, spices and food with everyone.

In turn, their friends and relatives help them to re-build their home and their broken lives. They often have visitors. Some relatives bring fish curry to share even though they themselves have so little. With such kindness, the family returned to a happy life, made even better as being part of a wider community.

The Storm


Saleem Lily




Hassan and his older sister Lily lived in a beautiful village with their parents, Saleem and Prisha, and their grandparents, Bikash and Nafisa. They were very poor and had little money to buy clothes. But they were happy.

The family owned a small piece of land. They grew rice in the paddy field, vegetables in the garden and there were fish in the river. Although they were poor, there was no need to buy food. They grew their own food and lived a simple life. They were happy.

One day their life was turned upside down when a terrible storm came and washed away everything they had.

The roof was blown off their house and floated away before eyes. The children, parents, and grandparents had to run and swim for shelter in the cyclone. Their rice crops and vegetables were destroyed, the river overflowed its banks. They were deeply saddened and felt helpless.

When the storm and flooding passed, the family returned to their land. Their home had to be rebuilt but, being so poor, they couldn’t afford to buy materials for a new house. So Hassan’s father Saleem made the hard decision to leave his family and his village and travel far away for work. “Here,” he said, “take this red scarf and whenever you miss me, hold it tight and I’ll be close to you.”

Hassan missed his father terribly and was often very sad. With Saleem away, Hassan’s mother, Prisha took care of the household. But with no money, Hassan and his sister could not go to school.

With the help of Hassan and his grandparents, Prisha planted new trees and vegetables. It was such a difficult time. But gradually, Saleem sent home more money and Prisha bought more fish for the pond, more chickens to lay eggs, and more cows to milk.

Throughout this very difficult time, the family trusted in God. They worked hard and supported each other. It wasn’t easy. Often the family didn’t have enough to eat. But all their hard work paid off and they were able to rebuild their home and their lives.

Saleem no longer worked far away. Hassan and Lily went back to school and had time to play after school. Their garden flowered again, and they had lots of vegetables and fish in the pond.

Their trust and support for each other made them happy again. Even though they were still poor, they had everything they needed a flourishing garden, a playground, trees, a new house, pets. The children were back at school, and the family was together again. The storm had given everyone new strength to live and be happy.

We would like to thank the following individuals and institutions for their support Children of Champaful school, Assasuni, Satkhira district, Bangladesh S.M. Abul Khayer, Champaful school S.M. Monirul Ahasan Rajib, ICDDRB Irfan Shakil, Khulna University Dr Shilpi Roy, Khulna University Children of Saint Joseph Cathedral Primary School, Swansea Mrs Cerian Appleby, Saint Joseph Cathedral Primary School, Swansea Robene Dutta, Mantra Lingua Publishers of multi-lingual books

First published in 2020 by Swansea University Press and Mantra Lingua Ltd Global House, 303 Ballards Lane, London, N12 8NP

Text copyright © 2020 Sergei Shubin Illustration © 2020 Stefan Gibson audio and translations copyright © 2020 Swansea University All rights reserved The rights of Sergei Shubin and Stefan Gibson to be identified as author and illustrator respectively of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, designs and Patents Act 1988. No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted 0r stored in an information retrieval system in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, taping and recording, without prior written permission from the co-publisher, Mantra Lingual Ltd.

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library.

A Canvass of Children’s Stories Sergei Shubin/Stefan Gibson

The PACONDAA project aimed to engage local farming communities in Bangladesh to identify their existing best practice, and their experience of poverty and the socioeconomic impact of disease outbreaks. Sergei Shubin and his team at Swansea University developed this illustrated children's book arising out of research into experiences of poverty in Bangladesh. As a part of the engagement activity of this project, we worked with local schoolchildren in Bangladesh to compile a book containing three illustrated stories, as relayed by the children, detailing their experiences and understandings of poverty. Find out more:



This book is a talking book. Listen using PENpal in Cholitho Bashar, Welsh, Sylheti and English.

Published as ebook in Cholitho Bashar, Sylheti, Welsh, English from the e-booklub library

Profile for Mantra Lingua

A Canvas of Children's lives  

A Canvas of Children's lives