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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Malaysia : Kampung Boy by Lat - (comic Malaysian fare) nominated for 2009 Garden State Teen Book Award (Non-Fiction) in New Jersey, USA

November 20, 2008

by Suzan Abrams in Dublin

*first from Malaysia (including blogs/media) with this news

Malaysia's famous ticklish kampung character in Kampung Boy (2006) by the legendary Malay cartoonist Mohammad Nor bin Khalid or otherwise, better known as Lat, has been nominated for the 2009 *Garden State Teen Book Awards in the non-fiction Grade 5+ category, in a popular honorary tradition, organised annually by the New Jersey Library Association in the United States of America.

This alone spells a monumental accomplishment as the lists of nominations for Easy-to-Read (2 separate lists), fiction and non-fiction categories, stay heavily dominated by Caucasion writers. Qualified entries were selected after being published as American hardcover titles and this year's nominations are from the best 2007 book lists.

Others sharing the list with Lat include The Adventures of Marco Polo by Russell Freedman, Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman and Living the Poet's Life by Allan Wolf

This is a ballot where children vote for one or more titles they enjoyed and winners are chosen accordingly. Ballots must be returned by January 10, 2009 to Library. Recipients of the respective awards will be announced at the Spring Conference of the New Jersey Library Association.

Winners are chosen by a committee of the Children's Services Section of the New Jersey Library Association. Literary merit and reader popularity are important considerations. A total of 20 books in each category are handed out to children in New Jersey schools and libraries for possible voting. Because children vote for their favourite books, titles are published 3 years beforehand.

As a nominee annotation, Kampung Boy - where its grossly-exaggerated cartoon characters spot varied volatile emotions to depict scenes of Malaysian life -, is officially described by the Library as "a memoir of a growing-up Muslim in a Malaysian kampung (village) in the 1950s. Told in a graphic novel format, this story is at times touching, at times humourous and always entertaining."

Details for voting online are here.

To download and print the ballot, go here.

*Like Elaine Chiew whom I reported 2 days ago, had won first place in the Bridport Prize for International Creative Writing for the Short Story well above the original 10,000 entries, Lat's hometown too is Ipoh in Perak State, Malaysia.

*The Garden State Book Awards was founded in 1977 to honour books for younger readers.

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