Abyan Junus-Nishizawa and Farah Landemaine are co-creators of Anak Rimba Books. Both of them share a deep-rooted interest in promoting creative content that focuses on endangered animals in Asia, with an additional twist: it caters especially for children!
We chatted with Abyan to learn more about her and the Anak Rimba series. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us more about the book "Why Don’t I Look Like You?".
We started the Anak Rimba book series because we grew up in the city and didn’t have many opportunities to go out into nature. Now that Farah has children of her own, and I plan to have kids of my own, we plan to raise a generation of children that love the planet. That’s why our Anak Rimba concept is for children to return to the forest.
Our story begins with Timo, a baby tapir that wonders why he doesn’t look like his mum. Timo is on a journey to look for animals that don’t look like their mothers, where he meets frogs, tadpoles, and baby chicks.
When we get to the end of this journey, Mama Tapir tells Little Timo that she loves him just the way he is. At the end of the day, being unique and being different is nice, but the love is still the same.
What are some practical steps we can take to protect endangered animals across Asia?
Of course, you can participate and donate to an animal that you feel strongly about, as there are many organisations that support that. But what endangered species actually need is awareness.
Part of the reason we started the Anak Rimba series is to create awareness among children. We want them to realise that endangered animals are at risk. [For example,] giraffes are high-risk, and this is what we want to point out. “Normal” animals can also become endangered.
If you could bring back any extinct animal, which one would it be?
The most recent one is Sudan, the last male northern white rhino. It’s such a pity. The rhino is a species that really needs more [attention] right now. They are so close to going extinct. So I would definitely bring back Sudan! It’s so sad that animals are going extinct in our lifetime.
Catch Abyan at the Anak Rimba Books’ storytelling and art workshop this #YSDAF2018 on 18 & 19 August, between 11AM to 11:30AM at the Deck of klpac.