Kinda Blue

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From Water Rolls, Water Rises, a picture book published by Lee & Low Books, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Meilo So.

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Review:Thunder Boy Junior by Sherman Alexie

First published in The Star on 11th November, 2016

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Sherman Alexie, the author of the hilarious and heart-wrenching award-winning young adult fiction novel The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian, has published his first picture book.

Illustrated by Yuyi Morales, Thunder Boy Jr tells the story of a young boy struggling to come to terms with his name. Thunder Boy has been named after his dad who is known as “Big Thunder”. Unfortunately, this makes the little boy “Little Thunder”, a nickname that he thinks sounds like a “burp or a fart”.Read More »

Book Review: Magic Beach by Crockett Johnson

Crockett & KraussFirst published on 28th April, 2013 in The Star

IF you’re a fan of children’s books, you would think Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson’s marriage made in heaven. Both were writers of literature for young readers, and Johnson was also an illustrator.

In fact, he drew the pictures for Krauss’ best-known work, The Carrot Seed. Krauss also wrote one of my favourite illustrated books of all time, A Hole is to Dig, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. And Johnson was of course the creator of those wonderful books about a little boy Harold and the adventures he has with his purple crayon.

The Harold books are pure genius in their simplicity. They portray the truth, without embellishment: children draw with all their heart and soul and mind. They enter their creations, live them, imagine them into reality. That is what Harold does. His purple crayon is not magic, his imagination is. This is why you can give a child pencil and paper, or an empty cardboard box, and she will play happily for hours … that is if her imagination hasn’t already been deadened by an iPad or excessive TV-viewing.

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Let’s Get Naked!

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First published on 16th March, 2014 in The Star

I READ with interest about the French picture book Tous à Poil  (Everybody Gets Naked), by Claire Franek and Marc Daniau, which shows people of all shapes, sizes and ages disrobing and jumping into the sea.

This is a book that will never be sold in a Malaysian bookstore for, although it contains nothing of a sexual nature (which might be deemed unsuitable for children), I believe a naked body is considered a sexual object by the powers that be. Thus, Tous à Poil would be seen as a work of pornography – obscene and likely to have a degenerative affect on our children’s morals.

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Off With Their Clothes!

off with their clothes

I’m trying to imagine Malaysian booksellers and publishers I know in a version of this picture! I doubt we’ll ever be so comfortable with our bodies (and sufficiently free of guilt, shame and terror) to pose naked for any kind of cause. In this picture, French booksellers and publishers are responding to remarks made by a minister about a new picture book that’s filled with illustrations of people without their clothes on. Their message: “Tous à poil contre la censure!” or “Everyone naked against censorship.”Read More »