Atchafalaya Swamp

Saturday, July 12, 2014

OMG - Book Review by Connie Goh

Pacha's my sister. Here's Connie's review of her latest book. Thanks Connie!

Getting to Know Allah Through the Canvases of a Mother and her 5 year-old

This week, I will be reviewing an amazing book called OMG (Oh-My-God) by Pacha & Bali, a gem I discovered during a recent book hunt for local book authors. I have been collecting books especially children ones to build a mini library at home. You may also hunt for more bargains for Raya or even donate food and other necessities to be given away to the homeless at the Strada Bazaar located on Level G of The School by Jaya from now until 25 July 2014. The bazaar operates daily from 3 to 10 pm.
Unlike the conventional children books about fairy tales, adventures, characters, phonics, and so on, this truly is a unique find; it is a rare book about Allah explained through fun and colourful canvases painted by a mother, fondly known as Pacha and her talented 5 year-old daughter named after the island of Bali.
When I first picked up this book, I had zero expectation of what I will find in the book, other than reviews by others telling me that this is a colourful book about Allah, as it explains Allah in easy to understand terms. So I decided to contact the author through her Facebook account.
Can you imagine my excitement when Pacha replied me? I mean, as a book lover, I was excited to be able to speak to the author. The feeling is akin to fans meeting a celebrity. And so I asked Pacha, why this book?
According to Pacha, “The book is done because I have ‘googled’ the Internet and also tried to find in local bookstores, any children’s version of a good night book of Allah’s attributes in English. Unfortunately, there were none. Some came close but they are just not engaging or good enough for kids to understand it. At first, I did my own adaptation by using slip of notes and read it to Bali even before she turned 1 year old. When Bali started taking art classes in 2012, we began to paint. Our paintings, with God’s will, were later turned into the beautiful Art Coffee Table Book with light explanation of Allah’s names, after inspirations and helps from friends and family.”
Later on, I picked up the actual book from Pacha and started reading it myself and occasionally, to my 2 year-old daughter who kept asking me about the paintings. True enough, for a non-Muslim, this is indeed an easy read. There are a total of 30 paintings and 99 Allah’s names or attributes explained in beautiful, sometimes catchy poems, all compacted into this 3ft x 3ft hardcover. Pacha and Bali shared their favourite things and places through their paintings.
Floating Lanterns in Jimbaran by Pacha & Bali
Attributes of God in this painting are: The Appreciative, The Most High, The Most Great, The Preserver and The Giver
I would definitely recommend this book to my friends, Muslims or non-Muslims who are interested on the subject or want to understand who Allah IS. According to one peer in my reading club, this book is too beautiful and helps the non-Muslim to understand the Muslim better and Who they are worshipping for.
Mexicola by Pacha & Bali
As for my takeaways from this book? The simple descriptions of the 99 names found in Quran “painted” an overall picture of Who Allah IS and depicts His awesomeness to the believers. What’s more interesting is that the paintings are very down-to-earth yet suggest deeper meanings if one would observe closely. My favourite piece is none other than Pisang Goreng and Godok time with Nenek. It talks about the borrowed life Allah gave to His believers and the guidance to the Right Path He bestowed. However, it gives me a sense of homeliness and the strong family ties that keep one’s sanity in-check in this ever changing world full of challenges.
The book also teaches one on faith, forgiveness, humility and compassion. It advises readers to learn to give, to listen, and to see all things that is good and appreciate life even in tough times.
This is a catch my dear readers, and an ideal book to give to your loved one during this holy month of Ramadan. You may order your very own copy through OMG by Pacha & Bali Facebook Page.
Connie Goh traded her corporate career as a communications specialist to become a full-time mother to her now two year-old while waiting eagerly to the birth of her second bub through gentle birthing. Since becoming a mother, she has been an avid advocate for breastfeeding, attachment parenting and gentle birthing. She writes for The School and believes in learning through play and holistic education for children.


gram.kong said...

Hi Swampman,

I kept you on my blogroll the few years that you were absence. I know you'll come back sooner or later.

It's nice to hear from you again after such a long absence.From reading your article, I presume you are somewhere in the U.S.

Hope you enjoy your work and stay over there.

Hantu Laut.

Anonymous said...

Mana achi? ? Hilang beribu tahun, timbul2 klua iklan jue buku adik dia....
Ish ish ish.....ini TIDAK ADIL!!!!

Unknown said...

Assalam bro'. Apa khabar?