Chickaboo the runaway ostrich has been making news after jumping out of a car and racing along the Federal Highway last Thursday, 16 June.
Reading the news, Heidi Shamsuddin was inspired to write a story based on Chickaboo while separately, Lim Lay Koon had drawn Chickaboo and posted it on her Facebook page.
According to Heidi, "I saw the video of an ostrich running down the Federal Highway and almost immediately a story popped into my head. I was relieved that Chickaboo was found safe and sound, and returned to the farm. Afterwards, I found out more about Chickaboo's life and was inspired to write a story."
"The fact that an ostrich sprinted along Federal Highway put a smile on my face. And I simply love her name, Chickaboo. When I shared my painting on Facebook, Heidi revealed to me that she also wrote a story. Basically, we were both inspired by the fine-feathered bird. I am looking forward to making this book with Heidi! " said Lay Koon.
It is a natural choice that the two should collaborate on a new picture book featuring Chickaboo and Oyez!Books is delighted to publish the book. Having just signed for a series of books featuring local animals, the publisher is happy to add another book to introduce animals to Malaysian children.
The book's publication is planned for early next year.
Oyez!Books will be publishing a new picture book that addresses how families who are living in different parts of the world can connect using technology. The new book, titled Hello Cyber Grannie, is written by Jane Tyrrell and illustrated by Lee Kowling.
Jane Tyrrell who lives in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, Australia, has two children (and three granddaughters) who live in the UK and Germany . While she travels annually to visit them, when she’s back in Australia Jane stays connected with them via the internet. She even reads to her eldest granddaughter that way. It's no substitute for warm grannie but sometimes, Cyber Grannie will just have to do!
Lee Kowling lives in Singapore and is a much sought-after illustrator who has illustrated more than 30 books with her works featured in Stories from Asia - The Asian Children’s Literature Collection. She is passionate about children’s books and is inspired by people, friends and animals in her life when she paints.
Oyez!Books is a children's book publisher based in Malaysia that has published a number of award-winning picture books. The publishing house is active internationally and it was at the Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore that the publisher was introduced to the illustrations of Lee Kowling.
Hello Cyber Grannie will be published in mid July 2016.
Oyez!Books will be publishing a series of animal concept books written by Beverley Hon. The books aim to introduce local animals to children six and below. Each book will describe one animal, highlighting its key features, using simple rhythmic text and accompanied by illustrations. The first five books in the series will introduce the slow loris, the binturong (bear cat), the Malayan tapir, the orangutan and the pangolin. The publication date for the first three books is set for November 2016.
By Peter Duke
It certainly was not your average book fair. This was something quite different. It was a community and family affair. I was certainly impressed by the number of families that came in the morning for the first storybook reading followed by an activity then lunch and back again for the afternoon sessions. The children were excited and happy. Parents were delighted to find somewhere they could entertain their children whilst relaxing in a pleasant environment.
The centrepiece of the event was the striped bell tent which naturally attracted children. What was inside? What was going to happen? Then there were the dinosaur cut outs dotted around. It was all so thrilling and the children obviously love the dinosaurs.
The authors and storytellers joined in the spirit of the event. They prepared for their sessions with care and produced many supporting props and ideas to get their listeners engaged. Every morning and afternoon, there were activity sessions where illustrators and authors brought cut outs, painting and drawing materials to excite the young. Some of the activities was so intriguing that mums and older siblings joined in the fun.
Then there were the books. The range was wide, from simple early readers to storybooks for tweens. The books were of good quality, colourful, with attractive content. Most of the stories were written and illustrated by Malaysians and many had some cultural content. The books excited a wide range of eager readers from five to twelve years old. Many of the adults who bought the books told us that they were surprised to find so many good Malaysian books for children.
It was fun especially, during the last weekend when young children from between five and eight provided the audience with highly entertaining story telling sessions as part of the storytelling competition. Many of the youngsters dressed up as the main character in their story. Everyone proclaimed this to be the highlight of the week! On Sunday morning, visitors were entertained by the winners of the writing competition who were between 9 to 12 years old who read their own stories, stories that they dreamed up and wrote themselves.
Now it’s all over. However, we are already planning for next year. We hope to extend the range of books for sale and the number and types of activities for children. We want to make it more interesting for mums and dads, possibly including some sessions directed at them.
But whatever we do, we are determined to keep to our mission that parents and children should enjoy themselves and we will provide books that children will treasure for the years to come.
In June, we head off to Switzerland, to Baobab Books, a wonderful publisher of children's books.
Baobab Books have selected some of the finest books from around the world to add to their list and we are proud that they have selected and published two from Malaysia.
The first book is Jainal Amambing's The Magic Buffalo which had won a prize in UNESCO's Norma Concours. A popular illustrator from Sabah, Jainal has written and illustrated several picture books which have been published by Oyez!Books. These include Longhouse Days, The Proud Butterfly and the Strange Tree, The Wonderful Sparrow and of course The Magic Buffalo.
The story of Sansarinaga, a young orphan boy who found friends is infused with the magic of Jainal's illustrations which also showed scenes of village life in Sabah.
The second book is one of Yusof Gajah's classic - Where is My Red Ball? As the book is targeted at very young children, Baobab has published it using child-friendly, non-toxic materials in awareness that babies like to bite and chew their books!
These images of different coloured elephants are unforgettable and indeed this book has been translated into German and Arab.
Watch out for a Yusof Gajah and Jainal Amambing collection to be published by Oyez!Books to add to your library of Malaysian picture books!