Our mascot, a happy mouse

Sone Leung Hua Kown

Sone Leung Hua Kown

Sone enjoys creating a wide variety of dishes for Big Brother Mouse lunches. Sone was born in Luang Namtha Province, and came to Luang Prabang in 2006 to attend university, where she has studied in a special teacher training course.

Sone joined Big Brother Mouse in October 2008, at age twenty, as a cook. Each day she shopped and prepared a delicious lunch for the staff, reflecting a full range of Lao cuisine, including some ingredients not too common in the west. A typical Lao meal might include sticky rice or steamed rice, a soup, and some flavorful vegetables. Some ingredients are common in the west: cabbage, green beans, tomatoes, eggplants, pork, and tofu. Others are not: When they're in season, river bugs may be floating in the soup.

Sone with her first book.

Young women in Laos tend to be much shyer than some of the men, particularly around westerners, and that's an impediment in learning a new language. But very gradually, Sone became more comfortable meeting visitors, and changed jobs so she now works in our front room, greeting visitors and selling books. Her English skills have improved, from nearly non-existent to the point that she can carry on a simple conversation.

When we decided to publish some very simple, 8-page books, Sone quickly responded. She wrote The Crab Flexes its Muscles, which has been popular with children just learning to read.