CURIOUS LITTLE LOOKJAN Young adult fiction with information on AIDS
Jane Vejjajiva

Rights: world
English translation by Paniti Sutabutr available
Illustrations by Pattreeda Prasarnthong

Sample page from Curious Little Lookjan


Excerpts from Curious Little Lookjan

Little Lookjan lives in a blue wooden house on the outskirts of Bangkok. Her great curiosity about life has earned her a nickname from her parents; “Little 101 Questions”. Questions not answered immediately by those around her are brought home in the evening to her parents. These questions began from the early stages of baby talk. By second grade, they have become more and more complex, so much so that the babysitter cannot answer them. Even her mummy, coming back from a long day’s work, did not have the energy to answer her. Eventually Lookjan’s daddy finds a way to make sure that all of Little Lookjan’s questions were answered.

“Here’s a notebook for you to write your questions Lookjan,” he told her. After you finish, you can put the book in front of our bedroom and daddy will answer all the questions in the middle of the night. Some answers will be too difficult for an eight year old like you to understand. But don’t worry, you can always come back to them when you’re older”.

“What a perfect idea Daddy. Now all my questions will be answered”, said Little Lookjan with a big smile.
So the little notebook became her best friend. She went everywhere with it and although some of the answers she received were too complicated for her, she still read them to herself and sometimes even to her two pet bunnies, Jack & Jill.

The day Little Lookjan found out from her daddy that an older boy name Pi Punya would be coming to live with them, her curiosity stepped up a few notches and the questions overflowed like a waterfall.

Lookjan had always wanted an older brother and now her dream came true. Her mummy cuddled her and explained:

“Auntie Noom, who is Punya’s mum and my cousin, just passed away. We’re cousins because our fathers are brothers. And Punya’s dad, Uncle Korn, also passed away long ago. Because there is no one to take care of him, Punya is going to be staying with us. The clean air and lots of trees at our house will help improve his illness. Daddy says once Punya is cured, he can go to the same school as you. Isn’t that great?”

Little Lookjan was so excited to have a big brother and a friend all rolled up in one. Then she asked, “What illness does Pi Punya have?”

Mum looked over to dad and then tried to answer as briefly as possible.

“Sweetheart, we shouldn’t ask about other people’s illnesses because they are personal. People will let us know once they are ready. As for Punya, he told me it’s fine for me to tell you. He’s not really sick. He contracted HIV virus from birth. The virus lowers his immunity, causes him to get sick easily, and has to take medicine everyday. Because this will take much longer to explain, why don’t you put your questions in the notebook ?”

Lookjan was already one step ahead of mom with all her questions lined up for her notebook.

What is an HIV virus?
HIV is a type of virus. Under a microscope, you can see that it has a round shape with outer shell full of little bulbs. HIV uses these bulbs to attach to our white blood cell. Once attached, the virus moves to live inside the white blood cell and sheds its outer shell.

How does the HIV virus stay in our body?
The virus makes the white blood cell its new home and divides itself inside. A contracted white blood cell loses its ability to get rid of germs inside your body.

What is AIDS?
If enough white blood cells are destroyed by HIV viruses, your body becomes immune deficient. This is called AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. This results in you getting sick more often than normal people.