The 3rd of March is World Wildlife Day and this year's theme is 'Listen to the Young Voices'. According the United Nations, young people between the ages of 10 and 24 make up one quarter of the world’s population and as the future leaders and decision makers of the world, they must be encouraged to act at both local and global levels to protect endangered wildlife.
Oyez! has published a number of books on wildlife such as Puteri Tioman and Siti the Elephant and stories around wildlife such as Under the Sea, Pip's Peculiar Problem and Where is Owly?. We will also be launching Belang the Tiger during our Children's Book Week from 18-26th March. Author Rossiti Aishah Rashidi is a committed conservationist and wonderful educator. Watch out for more information on our Children's Book Week.
In line with World Wildlife Day, we are promoting a range of beautiful wildlife cards from Rossiti's books for your collection. Send them on or frame them up, they remind us of the wildlife we must treasure.
Cards from illustrations by Lim Lay Koon for the book Pip's Peculiar Problem are also available. Lay Koon's sense of humour translates into all her illustrations. Beautiful and fun, these cards are delightful and thoughtful.
We are celebrating International Women's Day on 8th March. The theme this year is #BeBoldForChange. We have a special gift pack for you designed by artist Emila Yusof so watch out for it!
Do you usually wake up in the morning happy or grumpy? Well, the 20th of March is the International Day of Happiness! Take the pledge:
Now, don't you think we should all be reminded of this everyday?
For us at Oyez!Books, there's nothing more wonderful than the happy smile of a child. It makes everything we do so much more meaningful and fun. Whether in the books our authors create or in the events we do, we aim to create happiness.
The International Day of Forests is on 21st March and we wish to highlight the book, We Love Trees by Rossiti Aishah Rashidi and illustrated by Evi Shelvia. We are working on a Bahasa Malaysia version as many parents have asked for it. A favourite activity is pot painting with Rossiti as children learn to recognise leaves of plants and paint them on a pot that they will surely be proud to keep.
There are several more special days to observe in March. These special days highlight important issues around the world. Do check out the UN website for more information and resources. You can download posters, watch videos and sign up to be a part of change.
Timun Emas is an Indonesian folktale of a woman who longed for a child. Her wish was granted by a giant but there was a price. When the child has grown, the giant will come for her. That seemed like so far away and her desire so great that the woman agreed without further ado. The giant gave the woman some cucumber seeds with instructions that she should plant and take good care of them. The woman did as she was told and one day, one of the golden cucumbers ripened and inside was a beautiful baby girl. The woman named her child Timun Emas.
This folktale is similar to the story of Thumbelina from Denmark where a little child was born from the flower of barley corn. In another way, it is also similar to a German folktale, Rumpelstiltskin where a goblin helped a woman but the price was her firstborn.
How these stories come about, we can only guess. Folktales certainly reflect our shared humanity and much have been written about them and their meanings and significance. As an example, this story has been interpreted to mean the empowerment of women for in all cases, the women found a way to overcome a bad situation.
We are happy to present Evi Shelvia's retelling of this Indonesian folktale and she has added a delightful creature, the Kuda Kepang. Evi's gorgeous illustrations make this story all the more delightful and the book will be one to keep and treasure.
The publication date for this book is 30 December 2016 and will be made available for online purchase at www.oyezbookstore.com.
Have you ever sat in a train and looked through the windows and wondered where everyone is heading? Who are your fellow travellers and what are the places you have passed? And then you arrived at your destination almost with regret for the journey was certainly part of the pleasure.
Well, Lucia Hiratsuka thought about this too and wrote and illustrated a book, Na janela do trem which translated from the original Portuguese language into English is, Through The Windows of a Train.
Of Japanese descent, Lucia was born and raised in Brazil. She grew up on her father's farm which was called Asahi meaning 'morning sun' in Japanese. The farm was located in Duartina in the countryside of Sao Paulo. She first traveled by train with her grandmother and since then has always enjoyed traveling by train and looking through the windows.
Here are a few illustrations from the book.
This story is not finished yet as Oyez!Books is bringing this lovely book to Malaysian children in Bahasa Malaysia. In November 2015, Oyez!Books rights director, Lei, went to the Shanghai International Children's Bookfair. There she met Antonio Erivan, rights director of Cortez Editora. Antonio showed her many books including Na janelo do trem. At the same time, Oyez!books was looking for suitable books to translate and we have also received information from the Brazilian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur that we may apply for a translation grant from the Fundação Biblioteca Nacional which is the National Library of Brazil.
After much deliberation, (on the shortlist were beautiful illustrated books on the animals of the Amazon) we selected Na janelo do trem because we love Lucia's simple illustrations and because the story is one that a Malaysian child can relate to.
In October this year, we were informed that our application for a translation grant was successful. It was enough to cover the translation and editing cost (which was from Protuguese to English to Bahasa Malaysia as we couldn't find anyone suitable who could do a direct translation from Portuguese to Bahasa Malaysia.)
We are now in the process of getting the book ready for publication early next year. Can't wait! Stay tuned for further update!
Q2: How much research did you do to write this book?
Quite a lot but thankfully everything was in her memoir (which is called 'No Dram of Mercy'). I also took a trip to Papan with my family to have a look at her house at No. 74, which is the title of this book. It was really fun. My kids and I snuck around her house and pretended to be rebels who used to knock on her back door!
Q3: Where do you like to work?
I'm not one of those writers who can work in cafes and with other people.I only really like to work alone at home, in my special writing den, with the door shut and the curtains drawn. Yes, I like to write alone in the dark...
Q4: What are you working on now?
Lots and lots of things. The next Door Under the Stairs book will be about how tin was discovered in Perak by... elephants! I will also have a new picture book out called 'Chickaboo the Ostrich'. This book was inspired by the ostrich who was found running down the Federal Highway back in June this year and it's going to be illustrated by the great Lim Lay Koon! I can't wait for that one.
Preorder The Case of The House At No. 74 now at a SPECIAL preorder price and get great savings as well as a free notebook! The book will be available for delivery from 15th October.
Today, 29th July is Global Tiger Day. This majestic animal can be found in Malaysia but is now facing extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Malayan tiger as "Critically Endangered", its numbers now reduced to an estimate of less than 300.
How do animals become extinct? Mostly, it is through human carelessness and callousness. We hunt them and we destroy their habitat thoughtlessly. It is also ignorance. But we can correct this. Organisations such as the WWF are doing all they can to protect tigers.
Individuals such as Rossiti Aishah Rashidi is doing all she can to educate children about caring for the environment and wildlife. Her three earlier books, Manja the Orang Utan, Puteri Tioman the Green Turtle, and Siti the Elephant highlight the plight of these animals. Now, almost two years in the making, Rossiti's next book is Pak Belang the Tiger, illustrated by Indonesan artist Widiyatno.
Pak Belang is a name commonly given to the tiger. Meaning Uncle Stripe or Mister Stripe, it is both a respectful and affectionate term.
The book engages children with its rich and realistic illustrations coupled with simple and clear text. Congratulations to author Rossiti for yet another wonderful book and we hope we will see more work from artist Widiyatno.
Pak Belang the Tiger will be published in Dec 2016.
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.