Discover Palestine through children's book 'Story of the Stolen Homes'

Uyghur-French author Sr Guzelya Marisova penned the book as a way to express the pain in her heart following Israel's unrelenting attacks on the Palestinian enclave.

18 May 2024 02:00pm
Uyghur-French author Sr Guzelya Marisova wrote the book as a way to express the pain in her heart following Israel's unrelenting offensive on the Palestinian enclave since Oct 7. - Photo by Bernama
Uyghur-French author Sr Guzelya Marisova wrote the book as a way to express the pain in her heart following Israel's unrelenting offensive on the Palestinian enclave since Oct 7. - Photo by Bernama
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KUALA LUMPUR - A beautifully illustrated children's book, Story of the Stolen Homes, will transport young readers on a journey to discover the lives of Palestinian children and explore the unique culture of Palestine.

Written by Uyghur-French author Sr Guzelya Marisova, she penned the book as a way to express the pain in her heart following Israel's unrelenting offensive on the Palestinian enclave since Oct 7.

"As the situation in Palestine has escalated since Oct 7, I’m really concerned about what is happening there.

"I want to make a positive impact and be a voice for the Palestinians, showing my support to benefit the Palestinian people and others around the world.

"The best strategy is to write about Palestine and make it really good... to use creativity to manifest the voices of the unheard,” she told Bernama.

The book narrates about twins Eldar and Elnur, along with their parents and cousin Kama, exploring a special exhibition in Paris called "The Story of the Stolen Homes". Guided by Reem throughout the tour, they gain enlightening insights into Palestine.

Since Oct 7, Sr Guzelya, who was born and raised in Kazakhstan, and is now based in Jakarta, Indonesia, said there has been a surge of compassion towards Palestine, largely driven by the tragic deaths of children.

"I believe this awakening is touching the hearts of humanity, including those who previously showed little interest in Palestine. It is crucial to address this issue because it demonstrates our genuine concern for the Palestinian people,” she said.

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In today's comfortable world, Sr Guzelya said children are often shielded from the harsh realities of oppression.

"Most of their entertainment, including cartoons portray a cheerful world, but it is vital to expose them to the plight of the oppressed. By shedding light on these issues, we can help cultivate a generation that values empathy, justice and understanding for all.

"At the core of my book, a fundamental lesson that I wish children to understand - the utmost importance of freedom, faith and family. These values serve as the pillars that shape our lives and guide us towards a meaningful existence,” she said.

Sr Guzelya said the book in Bahasa Indonesia was launched during Ramadan in March, while the English version published in Malaysia will go for online sale from May 12.

"We have already sold 2,000 copies in Indonesia within just one month of its release,” she said.

As for readers in Malaysia, Story of the Stolen Homes will be accessible online beginning May 12 via www.tertib.press and www.nuhnnuha.com

In Indonesia, she said the sales royalties of the book will go to Dompet Dhuafa, while in Malaysia, they will go to Cinta Gaza Malaysia.

Recollecting the production process, Sr Guzelya said: "I wrote the inspiration for my story in one week and quickly penned it down, but of course, the editing and improvement process took some time to refine the details and sequence.

"I also consulted with experts in the Middle East, as well as religious figures because, as a Muslim myself, I wanted to ensure that my futuristic story did not convey anything contradictory to religious beliefs," she said. - BERNAMA