Continuing our Around the World in Picture Books adventure, here are three delightful picture books from the Philippines. They are bilingual books - English and Filipino. These three books are published by Lampara Books.
It was so beautiful and delicate with butterfly embroidery. One day, she plucks up her courage and tries to open the door of the wardrobe but it will not open. She asks her mother who opens it for her - inside the wardrobe are old pictures and many things that have been passed down including many beautiful clothes that her grandmother had sewn which had been worn by her mother and now her.
3. A Lesson from Juana
Author: Becky Bravo
Illustrator: Jonathan Rañola
In the island where Juana lives, little girls are taught to sew and weave while little boys are taught to fish. Unfortunately, Juana is not very good at sewing or weaving. So she asks her father to teach her to fish. Everyone is shocked but her father takes her along for his next fishing trip. Juana learns that the best fish are further away but their little boat cannot reach it safely. Juana feels the wind blowing her hair and she has an idea. She works all night and the next morning, her father's boat has a sail made up from the cloths she had tried to sew. That day, their boat went further and came back with the biggest fish.
Today we visit India - the land of many wonders and stories. We select four picture-story books from India's Children's Book Trust, an NGO. These four books are only 16-pages each but the stories are fun to read with bright colourful illustrations to accompany them. India produces some wonderful and award-winning books - think of Tara Books, Katha, Tulika and Karadi Tales. But we select these four books although they are not produced in hardcover or use thick paper because of the sheer pleasure one gets from reading the stories.
First, Bina's father picks up the bottle of jam. Ah, he says, how does Aunt Farida know I need a jar of gum for my carpentry work. He is happy with his present.
Bina picks up the lampshade. Oh, Aunt Bina has made me a beautiful skirt. She really likes her present.
Oh, this is nice, something for me to clean my computer and CDs ,says Bina's brother, as he picks up the feather hairpiece.
Bina's mother is thrilled with her present - a sprinkler - just what she needs. They write a letter to Aunt Farida to thank for the gift of gum, skirt, CD cleaner and sprinkler.
However, all's well that ends well with everyone hopping onto the now repaired tractor to go to the circus.
We have three lovely hard cover books from China - the country we are visiting this month - in picture books!
1. 灶王节 (KITCHEN GOD DAY)
This book tells the story of the origin of the Kitchen God Day and how it is celebrated. The Kitchen God day falls on the 23rd of the 12th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, just before the Chinese New Year. It is regarded as a Little New Year. According to Chinese myth, the Kitchen God observes all that a family does throughout the year and then reports it to the Jade Emperor who will reward or punish accordingly. It is therefore a tradition to thoroughly clean the house and to make sweet cakes to offer to the Kitchen God (sometimes referred to as Stove King) so that he will only have sweet things to say. Here are some wonderful illustrations from the book:
2. 牙齿，牙齿，扔屋顶 (Tooth, Tooth, Throw it onto the roof)
This book is published by the China Welfare Institute Publishing House. Written and illustrated by Liu Xun, it won the Outstanding Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award in the Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award, 2015.
3. 一个，两个，三个……蘑菇下躲雨 ((One after another... mushroom shelter)
Chap Goh Meh, a transcription of the Chinese Hokkien dialect into English, means the fifteenth night. It refers to the fifteenth night that marks the last day of the Chinese New Year.
This story begins with Nisa inviting Lili to a meal of Lontong Cap Goh Meh during Lebaran or Hari Raya Idul Fitri. She explains what comprises the Lontong Cap Goh Meh which is a set of meal with dishes such as chicken, vegetables, sambal and the lontong (compressed rice) of course.
Nisa then goes on to talk about what they do during Lebaran including visiting relatives and that she gets money gifts too - 'Banyak sekali, bunyinya gemerencing!'
Nisa adds that they eat Lontong Cap Goh Meh during lebaran and it is her special task to send the food to their neighbours.
All this time, Lili is trying to interrupt Nisa. You can see in some of the illustrations, Lili's head showing at different places. Finally she gets a chance to talk. The Lontong Cap Goh Meh, she says, is a special food during Imlek or Chinese New Year. During Chinese New Year, there are dragon dances, the lantern festival and they get given money packets too. (This is somewhat different from what we do here in Malaysia).
The astonished Nisa says, 'But the lontong Cap Goh Meh is a special food during lebaran!" "And for Imlek too," retorts Lili.
Finally, the two children wisely concluded, "Lebaran or Imlek, clearly, our favourite food is the same!"
The last page of the book provides an explanation of the origin of the lontong Cap Goh Meh which has been adapted by the Chinese in Indonesia.
This book is such a delight, the text (fortunately, I can read some Indonesian) goes hand-in-hand with the illustrations so well, we cannot imagine one without the other. We can hear the two girls chattering away and making comparisons as children tend to do. And the conclusion they reached, which is not an either or, black and white view, looks at accepting differences while enjoying sameness.
'Cap Goh Mei' was shortlisted for the Singtel Asian Picture Book Award 2013.
The author, Sophie Dewayani is an award-winning writer and researcher in the field of children's literature and literacy.
Illustrator Eugenia Gina has illustrated about 30 children's books. In 2012, she represented Indonesia in a SEAMEO (the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation) children's folktales illustration project in Southeast Asian Countries and Korea.
This book is published by Litara Foundation
Softcover, 36pages, 24 x 21.5cm
Little Barong wants to follow Big Barong to his performance.
But Big Barong says he doesn't need any help from Little Barong. After all, he is mightier, fiercer, stronger and smarter than Little Barong.
In the meantime, while following Big Barong, Little Barong is distracted by the peacock feathers that fall off Big Barong's costume. He picks them up and starts to dance. He gains an appreciative audience who cheer him, much to Big Barong's disconcertment.
Finally, they become friends and perform a grand performance!
At the end of the book is a page of factual information about Barong performances.
There isn't much text in this book but the illustrations tell the story effectively. It introduces a traditional cultural performance in a way that children can enjoy without going into too much details. With the help of the facts page, parents and teachers can give children more background on the Barong.
Ary Nilandari is a published author of children's books, young adult as well as adult novels. She is also a trainer and conducts writing classes.
Dewi Tri K believes that knowledge and research with passion make great illustrations. Her illustrations for Pertunjukan Besar Barongan Kecil was shortlisted for the Nami Concours 2015 and she won the Scholastic Asian Picture Book Award, 2015 for her book, Pandu, the Ogoh-Ogoh Maker.
This book is published by Litara Foundation
Softcover, 28 pages, 24 x 21.5cm
Misteri di Pasar Terapung by Eva Y. Nukman (writer) and Ella Elviana (illustrator) was the Grand Prize Winner of the Samsung Kids Time Award 2015.
Mawi gets a chance to have his own boat at the floating market.
The writer tells us that adults trade using money but in the past, they used to carry out barter trade. And that is what Mawi is doing. He goes to a boat and takes what he wants and replaces it with his bananas.
A woman cries out, something is missing from her boat. She accuses Mawi but Mawi is innocent.
Mawi tries to spot the thief and then he sees what happens.
The boat belongs to Pak Badu. Pak Badu explains that he found the two young orangutans with their mother who was caught in a trap. He couldn't save the mother so he brought the two young orangutans home. He didn't know what else to do with them.
But Mawi knows. Mawi and Pak Badu take the two orangutans to an orangutan sanctuary where they will be taken care of until they are old enough to be released back into the jungle.
The last two pages of the book contain factual information about the floating market in Kalimantan and about orangutans.
The illustrations and text work very well together in this book. Even though there isn't a lot of text, we feel right there in the hustle and bustle of the floating market. In addition, the harm to wild animals caused by human action is told effectively in a few words with poignant illustrations.
Eva Nukman is a published writer of children's picture books, young adult novels, comics and short stories.
Ella Elviana specialises in illustrating children's books and her published books include pictorial books and novels.
This book is published by Litara Foundation.
Book information: Softcover, 36 pages, 24 x 21.5cm
In addition, the illustrations by Denny A. Djoenaid, are so alive that the animals seem to jump out of the pages. The illustrator used artistic licence and added many different types of animals including a kangaroo and a zebra. An award-winning illustrator, Denny is also an animator for films.
Here's the story: The animals in the jungle were in terror because there was a fierce tiger who was hunting them for food. In despair, they asked Kancil to save them. Using his wits, Kancil went to see the tiger and told him there was another fierce tiger in the jungle who also wanted to eat the other animals. Tiger was so furious he asked to be taken to see the other tiger. Kancil took tiger to a deep well and seeing his reflection, tiger jumped in to attack what he thought was the other tiger. And that was how Kancil saved the animals in the jungle.
Here are some illustrations from the book:
This book is published by Grasindo, PT Gramedia Widiasarana Indonesia.
Remember, as part of our Around the World in Picture Books project, this book will be added to the lucky draw for our online customers in the month of January. You could be the lucky winner!
INDONESIA: Misteri di Pasar Terapung (Mystery at the Floating Market)
Get a chance to win a wonderful picture book from a different country each month.
Starting from January 2016, we are going to take you around the world by introducing selected picture books from a different country each month. We will review the books, introduce the authors and illustrators and tell you why we think the books are special. We will select books that we feel tell us something about the culture and people of the countries they come from.
Naturally, not all the books will be in English, Malay or Chinese or a language we can understand. Perhaps in the future, Oyez!Books will have the opportunity to publish the translations.
Some of the books we feature may be available from our online store but most will not. However, the good news is, we are giving away ONE copy of each book we feature through a lucky draw.
Anyone who buys a book from www.oyezbookstore.com during the month will automatically be entered into the lucky draw to win a picture book from the featured country that month. We will pick and announce the lucky winners on the last day of each month.
Secondly, every year we attend several international book fairs and are inspired by some of the best picture books from all over the world. It's not possible for us to translate and publish every book we love, so here's one way we can share them with you.
And in January 2016, we will be traveling to INDONESIA.