When Oyez!Books was first established in 2008 our vision was to publish books with Malaysian stories. What exactly are Malaysian stories? Well, we have some ideas but we think it's best if we highlight some of the few hundred odd books we have published to show what we mean.
1. My Mother's Garden and series
2. Malaysian Folktales from East Malaysia and Princesses
Another beloved Malaysian author is Jainal Amambing from Sabah, who is from the Rungus tribe in Kudat. Jainal's first encounter with picture books was at a picture book workshop organised by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, taught by Yusof Gajah. Also with DBP at that time was editor Zaiton Ajamain, now Datuk Hjh Zaiton. Although she is now retired, Datuk Zaiton continues to be involved in Malaysian children's picture books.
Fellow Sabahan, Awang Fadilah has also won Noma Concours Awards for his black and white Land Below the Wind and brilliantly coloured Puteri Gambus. Awang's detailed and stylised drawings take us on a cultural and nature trip to Sabah.
Another award-winning picture book is the bilingual Lelaki dari Sungai / Men from the River by Basari Mat Yasit which won the distinction list of the Nami Concours, Nami Island, Korea. This book retells a Sarawak folktale and celebrates the unique pua kumbu, a woven fabric of the Iban tribe.
3. The natural world
Hans Volker Wolf is a German who has fallen in love with Malaysia and now calls it his home together with his family.
Think Malaysia has wonderful fruits? Then get Rossiti's We Love Trees (illustrations by Evi Shelvia) which features several fruit trees including the durian of course, rambutan, starfruit, mango and coconut.
4. Culture and Happenings
Next, we have books by Mahaya Mohd Yassin, an advocate on the correct use of the national language, Bahasa Malaysia, who published three picture books with Oyez!, namely, Pelangi Pagi (illustrations by Emila Yusof); Lobak Bunga (illustrations by MR Mazni) and Negaraku (illustrations by Evi Shelvia). Negaraku has a lift the flap to reveal the Malaysian flag and is sure to bring a smile.
5. Early Readers
Oyez! is also pleased to publish six books for pre-schoolers in Bahasa Malaysia by educationist Nani Menon (illustrations by Emila Yusof). Big size, colourful and printed on heavy card, these books touch on simple topics with accompanying pictures that young children can easily identify, making them a great introduction to early reading.
6. Poetry, Proverbs and Rhymes
Who hasn't heard of the nursery rhyme and song, Bangau Oh Bangau? If your children haven't, then it's time to introduce them to this lively nursery rhyme with a book illustrated by Elly Nor Suria. With a question and answer format, this nursery rhyme is great for group interaction and singing.
The Malay peribahasa in pantun gives words of wisdom and advice in rhyme. They are made less forbidding with delightful illustrations by Emila Yusof in Pok Amai-Amai.
Mazni Md Ramly's collection of poetry for children, Menjadi Bintang, evokes daily events in a Malaysian child's life. The poetry can be recited or sung and to encourage children to write their own poetry or to illustrate a poetry with inspiration from the illustrations by Emila Yusof.
For Oyez!, Malaysian stories are stories about Malaysia created from the heart, inspired by the culture, people and natural environment of this beautiful and rich country. Let us teach our children to love our stories, stories they can identify with, stories that are about them and their environment. And let us share our stories with the world.
Malaysian stories are stories about Malaysia created from the heart, inspired by the culture, people and natural environment of this beautiful and rich country.
To celebrate Merdeka and Malaysia Day, we will be having promotions for two whole months, August through to September. So don't miss this chance to get more Malaysian stories for your children. In addition, watch this space as we will be highlighting more books as well as behind the scenes with Oyez! publishing.
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