From Classics to Popular Psychology: Top Picks of Kazakh-Language Books

ASTANA – With the revival of Kazakh culture, contemporary literature in the Kazakh language has gained significant popularity and demand today.

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Bookstores are offering an array of titles covering diverse interests and subjects.

The Astana Times presents a curated selection of the top books in the Kazakh language. 

The Book of Words (Kazakh classic)

Despite being written more than a century ago, Abai Kunanbaiuly’s The Book of Words maintains its relevance today. Comprising 45 philosophical and ethical reflections on various aspects of life, the work encourages education, literacy, and virtuous character. This masterpiece, composed in the classical style, unveils the literary artistry, wisdom, and philosophical perspective of the eminent Kazakh poet and writer.

Abai Kunanbaiuly’s The Book of Words. Photo credit:

The enduring value of enlightenment lies in its enduring political and social relevance. Addressing contemporary issues, many of Abai’s words resonate with readers today.

The Kemel Adam (Psychology/Pedagogy)

The Kemel Adam (Perfect Person) by Qairat Joldybaiuly elucidates the qualities and attributes of an ideal and mature individual.

The Kemel Adam by Qairat Joldybaiuly. Photo credit:

The first part of the book delves into psychological impediments to maturity, while the subsequent section explores the significance of physical well-being, along with methods and practices for healthcare. The third part offers insights into efficient time utilization and planning, and the fourth part imparts financial literacy, providing guidelines for prudent spending of income.

Within the fifth and sixth sections, the book covers emotional intelligence, strategies for managing emotions and moods, and principles of effective communication. Each section is enriched with illustrative examples that can help the reader in their daily life.

The Tarmaqtar (Contemporary Kazakh prose)

The Tarmaqtar (Browses) project by Rysgul Doszhanova transforms the content of the Tarmaqtar Instagram page into a book format, captivating the hearts of numerous readers. The book features contemporary Kazakh poetry from multiple writers. The content delves into life philosophy, genuine affection, diverse emotional states, unexpressed sentiments, and the euphoria of cherished memories.

The Tarmaqtar project by Rysgul Doszhanova. Photo credit: The Astana Times.

Each page presents a single poem accompanied by a captivating illustration and a QR code that allows readers to listen to an audio rendition of the poem. 

Salem, Almaty! (Guide/Encyclopedia)

Salem, Almaty! (Hi, Almaty), authored by Gulnara Nauryzbai and Sima Omarkulova, is not just the inaugural illustrated guide to Almaty but also a heartfelt expression of affection for the city. Adhering to the Wimmelbuch style, the book beckons both adults and children to embark on a journey through the city’s landmarks, engaging in captivating puzzles on every page. 

Salem, Almaty! authored by Gulnara Nauryzbai and Sima Omarkulova. Photo credit:

Through artwork created by Katya Bolatova, readers can catch glimpses of the historic airport in 1936, the Kazakh Institute of Foreign Languages in 1940, Kazakhstan’s cinema in 1950, the Union of Writers in 1955, and much more. The book’s primary objective is to enhance the familiarity of Almaty’s residents with the intricate details of their hometown.

The Adventures of Batu and His Friends (Children’s fiction)

Children’s literature gains popularity by immersing readers in a realm of thrilling adventures. The children’s book series The Adventures of Batu and His Friends, authored by Zira Nauryzbai and Lilya Kalaus, exemplifies this trend. The series, written in the fantasy genre with action and children’s detective elements, narrates the exciting exploits of Batu, a modern city boy, and his companions.

The Adventures of Batu and His Friends authored by Zira Nauryzbai and Lilya Kalaus. Photo credit:

Within the pages of these books, the authors present a tale of friendship that unfolds in a wondrous land, captivating readers and prompting contemplation on essential concepts such as friendship, mutual assistance, hope, and love. All the characters in these fairy-tale escapades are composite figures, each embodying distinct traits. Yet, they all share a common aspiration for beauty, seeking to achieve peace and harmony.

The Archer (Historical novel)

The Archer by Amir Karakulov and Zaure Seitova centers its plot in the middle of the 6th century AD, during the rise of the Turkic Khaganate. The main character is Istemi-Kagan, the ruler of the western territories of the Turkic Khaganate, governing over the Sogdians. The novel delves into the Turks’ innovation of smelting high-quality steel in vast furnaces nestled in the southern Altai mountains, acting as precursors to modern blast furnaces and crafting splendid weaponry. Through engineering prowess and military valor, they free themselves from the yoke of the Zhuan tribe.

The Archer by Amir Karakulov and Zaure Seitova. Photo credit: The Astana Times.

The Shokoland book series (Children’s fiction)

The series’ first book by Rustem Sauytbai was published in 2021. The story’s events unfold in the village of Amantogai, near the city of Arkalyk in the Kostanai Region, where the author was born. The story follows schoolchildren Elya and Ryle as they spend their summer holidays visiting their grandmother. Exploring the village’s surroundings, they stumble upon a cave that transforms into a portal, ushering them into the magical world of Shokoland. Within this realm, nearly every element, including structures and objects, is constructed from chocolate. 

The Shokoland book series by Rustem Sauytbai. Photo credit: The Astana Times.

The young and courageous heroes embark on an intriguing yet challenging journey, navigating the complex tasks of this magical world.

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