With Deepavali just around the corner, the wonderful husband and wife duo, Mohd Khairul Azman Ismail and Razisatul Asyifah Ismail, have released "Deepavali Valthukkal, Owly!" – the third delightful addition to their Owly Celebrations series through their heartwarming publication, OwlyBooks.
Penned in Bahasa Malaysia, this charming book features the lovable character Owly, who embarks on a heartwarming journey to a Deepavali celebration with a loving family. Join Owly as he discovers the beautiful customs and delectable treats cherished during the Festival of Lights.
The talented illustrator, Mohd Khairul, and the gifted writer, Asyifah, both aged 48, drew inspiration from the cherished memories of their childhood, where they formed friendships with friends from diverse backgrounds, irrespective of race, skin colour, or religion.
"Back then, we had genuine friendships that transcended these differences. It's a delight to witness children forming bonds through mutual respect and understanding of each other's cultures and faiths. This is the Malaysia we all should aspire to," shared Mohd Khairul.
This heartwarming couple, who also happen to be dedicated primary school teachers in Shah Alam, teaching Islamic Studies and Visual Art, have previously gifted us with "Selamat Hari Raya, Owly!" and "Gong Xi, Gong Xi, Owly!" as part of the Owly Celebrations series.
According to Mohd Khairul, it takes them approximately a month to craft one of their heartwarming books, beginning with manuscript preparation, storyboarding, character creation, and culminating in text writing, sketching, and illustrations.
"Fortunately, working together is a breeze since we share the same roof," Mohd Khairul chuckled. "We're constantly brainstorming and discussing ideas to perfect the story until we're truly satisfied."
"We also make sure to share our drafts with friends from various communities to ensure accuracy and approach the topic with the right amount of sensitivity," he added.
Although their four children have long outgrown children's books, this warm-hearted couple hopes that young readers will embrace the enchanting stories, endearing characters, and thrilling adventures found in their books.
Simultaneously, they aspire for these young readers to absorb the valuable lessons and principles shared within the pages. After all, we share this wonderful country, so respecting each other's cultures and beliefs is of the utmost importance.
The couple also hopes that parents and guardians will join in the reading fun, supporting local publishers of children's books, particularly those that aim to educate readers about Malaysia's rich multicultural traditions.
As for what the future holds for their series, Mohd Khairul revealed that our fellow Malaysians in East Malaysia will not be left out. "We will soon be releasing books that explore the festivities celebrated by the ethnic communities of Sabah and Sarawak, including Kaamatan and Gawai. Keep an eye out for our next books!"
For those interested, you can acquire "Deepavali Valthukkal, Owly!" and other heartwarming books from OwlyBooks by reaching out to Asyifah at 011-1185 2926 or by visiting local booksellers, like the Museum of Picture Book Art at GMBB. Happy reading!