Archive for the ‘Bookelicious Asia’ Category

Benji, Yumi, Origami! is in the house! Literally. I’ve finally stocked some copies at home.

This picture book saw a splashy launch at Resorts World Singapore’s SEA Aquarium in end May. Then, I encountered a storm one week later with a breast cancer diagnosis and never got round to doing anything for this book.

Benji, Yumi, Origami! is a story about new perspectives and seeing beyond the imperfect.

Benji is a kid who wants to get everything perfect. When he receives an origami present, he sets out, very much by the book, following each step methodically from Page 1.


But origami is a craft that needs skill and patience, and Benji fails to fold his paper animals perfect.


Just as he reaches the point of giving up, he meets his new neighbour Yumi, who gifted him the origami set.

With Yumi’s encouragement, Benji starts to see his imperfect creations with fresh eyes.

His crumpled frog isn’t really crumpled. That’s his reflection in the water ripples.


From there, a beautiful friendship unfolds as Benji works on his new creations with new perspectives.

Benji, Yumi, Origami! is now retailing at Kinokuniya Singapore.

I’m also offering autographed copies with free delivery (within Singapore) for a limited period only! Send your orders to me through a private message.

Related Links:

Reader’s Favourite awards 5-star rating to Benji, Yumi, Origami!

Benji, Yumi, Origami makes a Splash at RWS’s Sea Aquarium Fairytale Launch


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Last week, I had a fairytale book launch when Benji, Yumi, Origami! was launched at Resorts World’s S.E.A Aquarium as part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content’s (AFCC) Japan Night.

Benji & Yumi cover (low-res)

My book was one of two titles specially published by AFCC and sponsored by Genting Singapore to celebrate 50 years of friendship between Singapore and Japan (SJ50).

The Singapore-Japan collaborative effort was to have 1 Singapore author and 1 Japanese illustrator work on one book. The other book, Monster Day on Tabletop Hill, was in turn written by 1 Japanese author and 1 Singaporean illustrator. Both books are in English-Japanese bilingual edition.

Both Books.png

I chose to write my Friendship-themed story around a Singaporean kid who becomes friends with his new Japanese neighbour after she gifts him with an origami activity book. Beyond the friendship theme, I also chose to write a story about imperfection. Benji is focused on getting his origami paper animals perfect and reaches a point of giving up when he fails to achieve that. His new friend Yumi shows him a surprising new way to view his imperfect origami creations.

This book launch evening had the makings of a swimmingly great tale:

1. The opening line 

One of the keys of writing great children’s books is the opening line of the book- it has to hook the reader.

The event was held inside Resorts World’s S.E.A Aquarium – the World’s largest aquarium and maritime museum in the world. The venue of the evening had me hook, line and sinker.


2. The story setting 

How an author sets the scene for the story makes all the difference in pulling the reader into the pages.

The setting was a 4-course sit down formal dinner right in the viewing gallery of the Aquarium’s star exhibit – a 7-8m high floor to ceiling fish tank.

My table

3. The story structure

As with all good children’s books, there has to be a beginning, middle and an end. Strong plot is key in moving the action forward. 

Menu (higher res)

The beginning of the evening kicked off with speeches from the VIPs. Book Council Chairperson Claire Chiang,  delivered an impeccable paragraph of greeting in Japanese which she had picked up only one week before. The Japanese Ambassador followed on to speak about the 50 years of friendship between Singapore and Japan.

Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Ministry of Foreign Affairs graced the event.

BookLaunches (higher res).png




The middle part of the story must have enough action to sustain the reader’s interest to the end.

We were treated to feast that whet our appetite on two levels:

– a 4-course sit down dinner, with the aquarium as our movie screen

– musical performances by a talented array of child performers.

4. Story Climax

All great stories must take the reader to a story climax.

For me, that was right after the 2nd course of the evening when the VIPs were invited on stage to touch an interactive screen.

As they did, two divers descended into full view from above with…. waterproof versions of the two books launched.

ST_20160528_NAJAPAN_2322659 (Straits Times photo of Benji, Yumi).jpgPhoto Credit: Straits Times 28 May 2016

Japan Team.png

Our collaborative teams – Illustrator Dave Liew, Translator Cathy Hirano, Me, Illustrator Kazumi Wilds, Translator Yumiko Fukumoto & Adviser Naomi Kojima

This was the moment that my heart felt so full with unspeakable joy.

Following on, Resorts World announced the launch of Asia’s richest book award. Yes, all $30,000 of it!

ST News Article

5. Satisfying Ending

Good story endings must bring things to a close in a way that leaves the reader satisfied.

Renowned Japanese singers entertained us with well-known Japanese children’s songs that my Japanese illustrator grew up with.

Soprano-soloist Lauren Yeo showed us why she’s a child prodigy.

The fairytale evening came to a close, much like the final page of a delicious children’s read.

My table (comprising myself, illustrators, translator) stayed to savor the last moments.  We took final photos, chatted and lingered to the end.

6. The Final word

My final word as the author?

I could not have written anything better than how the evening’s story had unfolded. 🙂


Meeting my illustrator Kazumi Wilds for the first time! together with translator Yumiko Fukumoto


with Claire Chiang.png

Our creative team with Book Council Chairperson Claire Chiang




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2016 has started on a very exciting note…and drama-filled page!

First off, Esplanade will be staging the theatre adaptation of my picture book Bunny Finds The Right Stuff for the preschool audience! The show will debut as the first children’s show at the newly renovated children’s theatre at the Esplanade.

Bunny Finds the Right Stuff is the 4th book in my Toy Series and has won the IPPY Silver Medal, Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention (Self-Published Awards) and was shortlisted for the inaugural Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award. It has also been translated and published in China and Korea, and also Malaysia.


bunny Esplanade flyer (front)

bunny Esplanade flyer (back)

You can book tickets online with Esplanade!

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Yesterday, the Pangolin crossed many roads from the zoo to arrive at my home!

(Well, technically, the postman drove through many roads with the Pangolin …but I write children’s books so I take childlike liberty with my language.)

Pangolin front cover

My latest book for the Wildlife Reserves Group is out and I just received my author copies. Yay!

Why did the Pangolin Cross the Road? is a bilingual picture book inspired by the true story of Anggun the pangolin that was injured in a accident near the Singapore Zoo. It is my 5th book sponsored by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism. The first four books were published by Seed Institute/Singapore National Cooperative Federation.

So why did the pangolin cross the road? Get your copy from the Wildlife Reserves shops to find out!
Pangolin back cover

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Desmond Kon, Poetry Editor of Kitaab, award-winning author, poet, multi-multi-hyphenate and very dear old friend, sits me down for a Lounge Chair Interview! Thanks Dez and KITAAB!

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

emily lim Emily Lim, at Singapore Writer’s Festival 2013 with Poetry Editor Desmond Kon & her munchkin (not the Poetry Editor)

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I struggled with a rare voice disorder for over 10 years. In 2007, when I wrote my debut children’s book Prince Bear & Pauper Bear, I found my voice, both literally and literary-ly. I write because I believe it is what I am meant to do in this chapter in life.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My latest picture book Tibby & Duckie is about uncovering one’s gifts and talents. Tibby, a bunny with tiger traits, helps Duckie, an ugly duckling of sorts, who is unable to swim like the other ducks. When Tibby helps Duckie to uncover what she is made to be…

View original post 635 more words

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Almost one year ago, I was pondering about whether there was a publishing project I could get involved in to make a small contribution to Singapore’s Jubilee Year. I wanted to do something different so I wasn’t looking to publish my own book.

At that time, St. James’ Church Kindergarten approached me. The SJCK Principal had a very clever idea for a book project. She wanted a compilation of children’s short stories created around four Little Red Dot characters, later named Didi Dot, Dishon Dot, Dana Dot and Danny Dot. Would I be able to help them publish it? Its target audience of preschoolers was right down my alley and it would be part of SJCK’s contribution to the SG50 celebrations. So I said yes.

One year has past since I started working on this project and I’m happy to now hold the newly published books in my hands, in  time for Singapore’s 50th birthday.

Little Red Dots (front cover)Little Red Dots is a compilation of 8 selected stories from the 29 entries submitted by SJCK children and their families. Based on four Little Red Dot characters Didi Dot, Dishon Dot, Dana Dot and Danny Dot,  the stories are inspired by our Singaporean culture, places and identity. The books have just been distributed to all 1,200 SJCK children and will also go to all kindergarten and childcare centres in Singapore.

Patrick Yee, bestselling creator of the Harry Lee Kuan Yew picture books, illustrated brilliantly for the stories, bringing them to life in whimsical black line drawings, dotted with red.

We managed to capture many Singapore scenes depicted in the stories.

Inside page1 (edited)

Inside page2 (edited)

And we also squeezed in iconic scenes not mentioned in the stories, like the famous Dragon playground.

Little Red Dots Inside Page1


All 29 submitted entries have also compiled into a second book Little Red Dots Story Collection, which has been given out to all 1,200 SJCK families as a keepsake.

Little Red Dots Collection (front cover)When I came to the back matter of the book, I thought it would be fun to depict Patrick and myself as Little Red Dots too. I asked Patrick if he could sketch us into Red Dots. Within minutes, he texted me his sketch.

Little Red Dots Emily and PatrickHappy 50th Birthday Singapore! May we stay united as one people, one nation, one Little Red Dot that shines brightly and honours one another.

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The Tale of Rusty Horse galloped into his little spotlight to be analyzed as part of the Singapore Story at the 2015 Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

Leading academic John McKenzie, who was awarded the Betty Gilderdale Award for Services to New Zealand Children’s Literature, took a deeper look into a few top Singapore children’s books, which included Linn Shekinah’s The Watchtower Warrior and Sharon Ismail’s What Sallamah Didn’t Know.

Using a form of reading comprehension scaffolding which he developed for teachers, he wanted to show that the picture book isn’t merely simple text for pre-schoolers. And this is what he did for my little Rusty Horse!

AFCC2015 - Rusty1

AFCC2015 Rusty2

AFCC2015 Rusty3  Source: Asia – Land of Perennial Stories (An AFCC 2015 Publication)


As I shared in two school talks in the past 2 weeks, The Tale of Rusty Horse was actually the most difficult story I have written out of my 25 over picture books. It happened at a time when I standing at my crossroad, trying to decide whether to seek crowd approval by going back to the luxury hotel industry where I had worked for over 10 years in a glamorous-looking job or taking the road less travelled – being an author of children’s books in Singapore (a very rare breed). That was when I realised that I had turned into Rusty Horse.

Rusty slide

John McKenzie, thanks for your deep and illuminating read and review of my little picture book!




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