The PCIJ Innovation in Storytelling Project

 KIAN Delos Santos's dream was to become a policeman. (Illustration by Aldy C. Aguirre)

KIAN Delos Santos’s dream was to become a policeman. (Illustration by Aldy C. Aguirre)

THE FIRST PROJECT funded by The PCIJ Project for Innovation in Storytelling is a children’s book that is not just for children. Inspired by the story of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos, who was killed last month by members of the Philippine National Police, this book is being released today onFacebook and a series ofInstagram posts.

The PCIJ Story Project was launched on August 15 this year to support collaborations between artists and journalists and encourage experiments in novel forms of telling stories in the news.

Si Kian, a story told in English and Tagalog, for both young and adult readers, was written by prize-winning children’s book author Weng Cahiles and illustrated by Aldy C. Aguirre, an artist known for the whimsical watercolors that accompany a number of well-loved children’s books.

Cahiles and Aguirre worked with Kimberly Dela Cruz, a journalist who did most of the research and reporting on which the book was based. Dela Cruz interviewed about 30 people and obtained documents from the police and the Public Attorney’s Office. She reported in Caloocan City soon after Kian was killed and also covered his wake and funeral.

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. It is also an effort to reach out to younger readers.

This story and the accompanying artwork attempt to bring Kian to life as a 17-year-old, with hopes and dreams like so many others.

Check out Facebook to see the text and illustrations.

The PCIJ Story Project’s Instagram account will also start posting the illustrations starting today.

Those interested in print copies of the book should email

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