The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) published its very first story project – Si Kian – a children’s book about the life and death of Kian Loyd Delos Santos.
Written by children’s book author Weng Cahiles and illustrated by Aldy C. Aguirre, the narrative and accompanying visual art in whimsical watercolors hope to depict Kian for who he is: a typical 17-year-old “with hopes and dreams like so many others.”
In the story, Kian was described as a responsible, obedient son to his parents and a class clown at school. He dreamed of becoming a policeman, saying that it feels great to be able to help others.
But on the night of August 16, he was killed by Caloocan policemen in a ‘one-time, big-time’ drug operation in Manila. His death amassed public condemnation and criticism of the authorities, provoking trending Twitter campaigns such as #JusticeForKian and #PaalamKian.
The author and illustrator closely worked with journalist and researcher Kimberly Dela Cruz, who worked on obtaining interviews from about 30 people supported by documents from the police and the Public Attorney’s Office.
“Children’s books rarely deal with current events or with topics as dark as the killing of minors in the war on drugs. This project presented an opportunity to tell (or retell) Kian’s story in a new way, to audiences that may have been overwhelmed by—or inured to—the news,” The PCIJ Project said in a website post.
The story, told in English and Tagalog, is an effort to reach out both young and adult readers.
The newly-launched PCIJ Story Project aims to support collaborations between artists and journalists and encourage experiments in novel forms of telling stories in the news.
It will provide grants from P15,000 to P75,000 for projects that bring light to abuse, negligence or wrong doing in: courts and criminal justice; the use of public funds; human rights; media, free expression, press freedom, media ethics; religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities; and poverty and inequality.
Interested to have a copy of the book? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think about this story project? We think Si Kian is a story worth telling.
Photo/Illustrations by Aldy C. Aguirre from the PCIJ Story Project Medium.