Our mascot, a happy mouse

Soumontha Panyasouk (Link)

From novice monk to Lao font designer

Link and kids at the end of a book party

Soumontha Panyasouk (nicknamed "Link") was born in Khon Kham Village in Pak-Ou District in 1989. His parents never had the opportunity to learn to read or write, but taught their children to value education, and they sent Link to Luang Prabang for Buddhist high school.

Link started helping at Big Brother Mouse while he was a Buddhist novice. He left the wat in December 2006 and now works alongside his older brother Khamla at Big Brother Mouse every day, while studying at Teacher Training College in the evening.

Link loves living in Luang Prabang for its beautiful scenery, friendly people, and quiet lifestyle. After seven years at the Phousi Temple, practicing the Dhama and meditation remain important to Link. He also gets much joy from helping people and is very fond of children, so he finds his job extremely rewarding.

Link with his older brother Khamla, when they were both novice monks at a Luang Prabang wat (Buddhist temple). The Lao alphabet, in which vowels or tone marks can appear above or below the consonants, does not readily adapt to computers that were designed for English. When we began publishing books, we found that the existing font systems were very clumsy for book publishing, so we created our own system. Link learns computer skills quickly, and has done the computer layout for several books. Now he's learning to design new Lao fonts, so we'll have a greater variety for future books.

As well as translating and editing other writers' stories, Link enjoys writing stories himself. His books, all published by Big Brother Mouse, include The Life of Buddha, the Buddhist stories Kamsanongkam and Ongkhuriman, and two beginner-level, 8-page books: Protecting Yourself from Germs and Praying to Buddha His favorite part of the job, however, is going out into the villages for book parties, where can see the looks of happiness and excitement on children's faces as they discover the magic of reading.