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!
1. Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
I like to make my own bed. It's a very personal thing. Even in hotels I make my own bed. I feel it's embarrassing to leave a messy bed.
2. What makes you laugh?
My cats at home make me laugh a lot. They're so funny and so easy to love. We don't own cats, cats own us because we do everything for them, and that is funny!
3. What inspires you?
The Quran, people and my surroundings inspire me. There are so much we don't know and that makes this world so mysterious.
4. Why do you think children should read?
Children should read because there's just so much to know about this beautiful world and all of its people. Books can bring the mystery of this world and universe which are sometimes wild and dangerous into the comfort and safe environment of our homes and schools. Then only we understand what's lies around us and how all of us are connected to all lives and creations.
5. Draw or doodle your favourite animal.
Rossiti Aishah Rashidi will be conducting a Storytime and Craft time session on Sunday, 29th May based on her books - Puteri Tioman and Siti the Elephant. Come meet her during Children's Book Week 2016 at the Concourse, Bangsar Village II, and learn more about the beautiful animals in Malaysia.
1. Why do you like writing/illustrating children’s books?
I want children to enjoy looking at art and reading.
2. What makes you laugh?
Thinking of my mistake.
3. What is the best day of your life?
4. What are your top 3 tips on writing stories for children?
a. Be a child
b. Read more children's books
c. Use your imagination
5. What inspires you?
Yusof Gajah will be conducting a Storytime sesssion on Friday, 3 June during Children's Book Week 2016 at the Concourse, Bangsar Village II. Come meet Yusof - the artist, author, illustrator, judge and curator of beautiful art and books.
1. What inspires you?
Could be a whiff of smoke, a twinkling star so sparkly in the deep midnight sky, glorious colours of sunset, trill of a family of sunbirds, a baby's gurgle and when he or she stretches out their little hand and encloses your finger and promptly puts it to their mouth to suckle, pure unadulterated laughter, the "shrush shrush" of waves, picking dead leaves and enjoying their myriad colours (as if God said, .."In your last breath, you die a glorious coloured death" and finding Magic in nature...I could go on and on and write a novel about it.
2. What do you like to do on Sundays?
Why Sunday? What makes it different from other days? The sun rises and sets...it's no different from any other days. Sometimes I would like to lie on a hammock, at times work myself into a frenzy. It's just like any other day except when we go to market and I cook up a storm.
3. What makes you laugh?
Laugh? What's that? Ha Ha!
4. What are your 3 tips for writing/illustrating children's books?
Tips...As if, I, an artist can advice? Follow your heart and soul and let that motto guide you.
5. Draw or doodle something you enjoy.
When I see little kiddos, I sketch and it sometimes inspires me to write wild cheeky stories.
1. What is your favourite movie?
E.T. was really good. I loved the original Indiana Jones and Star Wars trilogy, and more recent movies being the Lord of The Rings trilogy and Kingsmen Secret Service (Colin Firth as a super spy - what can go wrong with that?).
2. Why do you like to read?
For me, it has always been about the stories. Stories of far-off places, interesting characters, magical realms, exciting mysteries… But the best thing is that in the process of reading, I also widen my knowledge, broaden my mind and hopefully, improve myself as a person.
3. Who is your favourite author/illustrator and why?
I love Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – they are wildly imaginative and so much fun. Their stories sometimes have some thought provoking messages but these are usually presented in subtle ways that are not preachy or in your face.
4. Draw or doodle your favourite animal.
I like a lot of animals! Here’s one of a Tanuki inspired by a really cute song by Eartha Kitt called Shojoji. Tanuki is actually a Japanese raccoon dog that is quite significant in Japanese culture and folktales.
5. Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
My perseverance is horrible when it comes to learning new skills. I tend to try out a lot of stuff but never master any – piano, ballet, tai chi, yoga, latin dance, jewellery making... It's a mind boggling list of half-hearted attempts. Now, I am trying to keep at my erhu lessons – wish me luck.
2. Why do you think children should read?
Children should read because it enriches vocabulary and imagination!
3. Draw or doodle an image of yourself doing something you enjoy.
4. What is your favourite story and why?
J’attends Mamy. I fell in love with this book when I saw the cover at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. Bought it right away. It was in French and thanks to online free translation, I managed to understand the story. The story is beautiful and poetic. A little girl’s granny leaves the house but she was told that her granny would be home soon. Waiting for granny to return, the little girl spends her time outdoors talking to the trees, ladybug, dragonfly and many more. One day, her father explains that her granny was dead, that she was not coming back. The girl eventually understands that a new phase of life begins; life without Granny. I personally love the illustrations which were done in pencil where some elements were tinted red. The illustrations really complement the story and there was a moment, or two, that I broke into tears.
5. Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
I am afraid of cockroaches! And all in the creepy-crawly category.
2. Why do you like children's books?
Children's books have the best, most outrageously funny stories and characters.
3. What is your favourite food?
Durian. No! I'm joking! have lots of favourite foods, but at the moment I am crazy about Mango Sticky Rice.
4. Draw or doodle a self portrait.
Sure, but I have to warn you that I'm not a great drawer of things.
5. What inspires you?
What inspires me? Everything - family, friends, people who annoy me, places I've travelled to, things I've read and random conversations.