LeapEd, Malaysia’s first homegrown education service provider and social enterprise, recently rolled- out the Edisi Bahasa Melayu e-book of ‘Coronavirus: Buku untuk Kanak-Kanak’, a 17-page e-book with an easy-to-understand narrative, complemented with illustrations for an engaging read. Understanding the importance in raising awareness amongst Malaysian children on the current COVID-19 pandemic, LeapEd was given the exclusive honour to translate the e-book, as part of its effort to transform the way children learn as well as the way educators teach.
The e-book was originally published in the United Kingdom (UK) by Nosy Crow, an award-winning independent children’s book publisher and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the internationally-recognised illustrator who made his name through the illustration of ‘The Gruffalo’. Since its launch in the UK in April this year, the e-book was downloaded over a million times, and is available in over 60 languages.
Chairperson of LeapEd, Shahnaz Al-Sadat said, “While the nation is well on its course to recovery, the COVID-19 battle is far from over. As we adapt to the new normal, it is fundamental that our children are also equipped with the relevant knowledge and understanding of the virus and how they can do their part to protect themselves and the people around them. The opportunity to translate this book to Bahasa Melayu as well as ensure that the information given are localised was one that we knew would be an important step to reach out to our Malaysian parents and children and encourage open conversations about the virus and living in the new reality.”
The efforts to communicate the pandemic does not stop there. A Reading Guide was also introduced by LeapEd to further provide parents with a step-by-step guide to utilise the book most effectively. The Reading Guide includes suggestions on how to read the e-book, trigger conversations with children, questions about the virus and the pandemic as well as encourage children to reflect on the current situation and next steps that they are able to quickly put to practice. A “Read Aloud” version is also available, narrated by Azalia Suhaimi, a Malaysian Poet famous for her ways in combining photography and poetry.
The illustration of the e-book was specially designed to be colourful and engaging to further interest children on the topic. Award-winning Illustrator, Axel Scheffler said, “It is important to get information to children and families about this virus – and this book was a brilliant way to do this. Though it would have been impossible to create drawings that reflected the lives of children all over the world, I am very pleased that children in Malaysia can read this book as well and learn about the virus, especially as I hugely enjoyed my visit to Malaysia with the Goethe Institute about 10 years ago.”
“We are really proud to have created ‘Coronavirus: Buku untuk Kanak-kanak’. It was only possible because we had the input of multi-award-winning illustrator, Axel Scheffler, who was happy to donate his illustrations, and also the advice of teachers, a child psychologist and the scientific expertise of Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling at the London School of Tropical Medicine. At a time when it is hard to find ways to combine scientific information with emotional honesty and reassurance for children, we are very pleased to have been able to provide such a useful resource,” said Kate Wilson, Managing Director of Nosy Crow.
Local book publishers, Me Books Asia and Silverfish Books joined hands with LeapEd, providing access to download the book via their digital platforms. Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Me Books Asia, Hao Jin said, “We are very excited to embark on this journey with LeapEd in collaborating with them in their cause to reach out to Malaysian children and educate them about COVID-19. We hope that this initiative is able to support the nation’s efforts to move towards complete recovery from the pandemic.”
Also in support of this cause, Chairperson of Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE), Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said, “Kudos to LeapEd to be able to have come up with an easy and friendly step-by-step approach for parents to guide their children on the Coronavirus. It is a simple reading pleasure accompanied by pretty pictures to make learning fun and a reference point for parents and children alike.”
The implementation of the various stages of the Movement Control Order by the Malaysian government from March 18 onwards has led to schools, enrichment and learning centres to be closed. LeapEd is responsible for the design and delivery of the flagship Trust Schools Programme, a whole school transformation initiative that has impacted over 90 Trust Schools nationwide. In response to the pandemic, LeapEd has introduced various innovative resources to guide and assist educators, parents and students during this unprecedented time.
LeapEd’s support includes workshops, webinars and learning materials on digital and social platforms such as Zoom and Telegram to guide teachers to adapt to online learning as well as parents and students to adapt to home-based learning.
The videos can be viewed here.