Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

After close to two years since we started writing our six stories for Irrevocable Gifts, we launched the book last Friday 6th December.

Since the book is about gifts and God’s calling, it came to pass that we held our launch in the dance studio of Kum Yan Methodist Church. We discovered on the day itself that we had to take off our shoes to preserve the quality of the flooring. It followed that we all entered on firm footing.


The six of us took turns to share snippets of our stories:

  • Dawn, songwriter, sang us a song with her reading
  • Bernice, editor, read the dialect excerpt of her conversation with her dad
  • Madeline, poet, regaled us with her poetry
  • Favian, artist, shared how Psalm 139 ministered to him through depression
  • Calvin, musician, played two wind instruments and showed us how to pucker up
  • And I, children’s book author, did a simple show-and-tell of how God spoke to me through my child’s voice.

6 authors

This has been such an inspiring project to be part of. I hope that the book will encourage anyone seeking meaning with their creative gifts and calling. Irrevocable Gifts is published by The Group, a grouping of Christian creatives, started by singer-songwriter Dawn Fung.

You can buy your copy from Gracework’s online store.

For friends interested to buy multiple copies as gifts, please contact me directly!


Ben, Caleb and I going mustard at the launch (for my Mustard Seed Books imprint which published my 4 Toy Titles)

Related Links:

Clean Breast, Child’s Heart & Wise Quips of The Little Prince (Bear)

About a Songwriter, a Publisher, a Poet, an Artist, a Musician & Me

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“Writing and publishing my first children’s book opened my eyes to see God’s hand in my life and brought me into a new season with a new voice. I had worked on multi-million dollar transactions for a decade in my past corporate life but gained no true knowledge from all those experiences. Instead, it took the simplicity of children’s books for me to see that wisdom begins with a childlike heart and the reverent fear of God.”

– extract from An Author’s Muse in Irrevocable Gifts

Irrevocable post 2

Read more on how childlike wisdom gave me great comfort through a dark life season of facing cancer and grappling with doubts about my calling and purpose, together with five other stories by fellow creatives on their creative journeys.

Irrevocable Gifts launches on 6th December 2019 at Kam Yan Methodist Church (music studio). Event details here.

Click this link to pre-order copies of the book.

Related Post:

About a Songwriter, a Publisher, a Poet, an Artist, a Musician & Me

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I’ve been asked several times if I will be writing a book about my journey through cancer. I’ve not seen a need for that. But as “iron sharpens iron”, friend and The Group book project leader Dawn encouraged and inspired me to write about my journey facing cancer through the eyes of author, parent and child of God.

Irrevocable Gifts_Cover - edited

An Author’s Muse is one of six stories that will form part of the anthology Irrevocable Gifts. I’ve had the pleasure of community and fellowship working on this very personal story with five friends:

  • Songwriter Dawn Fung writes about how songwriting has helped her make sense of her past, a vital missing link towards a healing journey in A Songwriter’s Origins.
  • Publisher Bernice Lee shares on how she responded to her inner critic and why she chose the path of editing in An Editor’s Secret.
  • Poet Madeline Ang reveals how her writing is both ministry and messenger in A Poet’s Diary.
  • Favian Ee’s An Artist’s Canvas provides insight on how God’s providence saw him through his artistic journey through depression and other critical points.
  • Calvin Chong details his account of how he learns to play the Chinese xiao and what that process means for him as believer, academic and learner in A Musician’s Discipline
  • I share how God spoke to me through an unlikely source in my journey with cancer and other setbacks in An Author’s Muse.

Irrevocable Gifts is our collection of six heartfelt, soul-baring stories of how God has given us our different creative gifts in our respective areas and spoken to us through these creative mediums. We have also crafted a Reflection Prompts section to encourage creative conversations. We hope this book can encourage many in their journeys of creativity and self-discovery.

Book launch will be on 6th December! Details to follow.

Meantime, you can pre-order your copy at S$10 each through any of us authors. Or better still, this year-end, you can buy 4 copies and get 1 free! 

It makes a good Christmas present and meaningful year-end read!

“For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable” – Romans 11:19  

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It’s been a while since I gave thanks so it’s definitely time to do so!

1. Down Time, Write Time

After a hectic 2013, I am thankful for a deliberately slow start to the year. With Caleb starting nursery school this year, preparation for his 3rd birthday party in January followed by Chinese New Year celebrations, I decided I was going slow on everything else for the first month, then two.

The downtime has been wonderful. It’s helped me unclutter my mind and my study room, catch up with many, many friends through intentional scheduling of weekday lunches and weekend get-togethers, and get rested.

It’s so nice to just have unhurried lunches and read books whilst Caleb is in school.

2. Words Go Round with Book Talks

IMG_0071This week, I had the pleasure of giving talks to over 200 children at Chatsworth International School and German European School Singapore. There was a third school booking which came outside of the programmed time slots. UnfortunatelyI could not manage my Caleb logistics so hopefully, the school and I can reschedule for another time.

I am thankful for Ben who managed to take two half-days off to pick Caleb from school so I could go for the talks unflustered (when my Mum who was to babysit Caleb came down with flu this week).

I also had a pleasant surprise when Paul Tan, Festival Director for the Singapore Writer’s Festival/Words Go Round showed up for my talk. He was randomly attending a few sessions and decided to come for mine. I am thankful for all the additional support of friendly faces!

IMG_0030For my 1-hour Where did Pauper Bear, Rusty Horse and Tiger-Bunny come from? talk, I talked about where story ideas can come from. I shared the stories that sparked the ideas for my books as well as those of the great picture book authors Mo Williams, Joyce Dunbar and Julia Donaldson. I was delighted to see all the buzz during the ideas brainstorming session that followed. As publisher for my own Toy Series titles, I also took the children through the entire publishing process from manuscript to printed book.

The best moment for me was when I was sharing about the inspiration behind The Tale of Rusty Horse. When I asked if anyone knew the story, a boy proceeded to tell the story in vivid detail and accuracy which won all-around applause from the room. When I told him how thrilled I was at his familiarity with the story, he said, “It’s because I love it.” Isn’t that what an author loves to hear?”

IMG_0078The best question of the day (and there were many) was whether I earned a lot of money as an author. I felt I needed to justify that with an honest answer. So I said, “I wish I could say yes, but I’m afraid I cannot!”

3. Write Circles

Last year, I hooked up with a few critique partners through author Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 challenge but the critique group which two of us were trying to form never quite took off.

But, over the last couple of weeks, I met a few like-minded writers who had just joined this year’s 12×12 Challenge.

So, I’m also really happy that my new online critique group took off last week. We share similar philosophies on critiquing manuscripts- “brutally honest, incredibly detailed and happily receptive”. We’ve just started our first round of manuscript exchanges last week and the level of feedback we are giving and receiving from each other has been what I have been looking for my picture book writer’s critique group.

So, thanksgiving all round for all things big and small in the past two months!

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Yesterday, a little panda-mail-nium came knocking on my door that made me ‘beary’ pleased.

I ripped open the package to find Book 2 of the Kai Kai & Jia Jia River Safari picture book series which I have written for Wildlife Reserves Singapore. This series is in commemoration of the opening of the new River Safari, Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park, and also part of Wildlife Reserves’ efforts to bring wildlife learning into the classroom.

Book cover photo

In The River Adventure of Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the giant pandas take a boat ride to visit new friends moving into the neighbourhood. There is a surprise at the end of the book when they find out about the newest addition to the River Safari.

The book is retailing at the River Safari and the Panda Exhibit shop. Look out for it at the WRS online shop  along with the first book A New Home for Kai Kai and Jia Jia!

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Top family blog A Happy Mum is hosting a giveaway of an autographed copy of Tibby The Tiger Bunny!

Tibby Cover (final)

Hop over there to take part in this giveaway and also check out Tibby’s review as well as other reviews, giveaways and useful resources for parents now!

BabyEmporiumYou can also now purchase autographed copies of Tibby The Tiger Bunny from Baby Emporium (Harbourfront Centre Singapore, next door to Starbucks)

Other earlier Tibby reviews and related posts:

Top Parenting Blog Simply Mommie reviews Tibby

Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews Tibby

A Picture Book Walk Through Tibby The Tiger Bunny’s Book Launch

Stop Press! Tibby leaps onto bookstore shelves

Tibby The Tiger Bunny Leaps and Roars at the Singapore Writer’s Festival

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Today I participate in Susanna Leonard Hill’s meme Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For this, I will be continuing down my list of all-time favourites which I intend to compile into my Perfect Picture Books Top 10 list.

I bought Randy Cecil’s first book Gator (also one of my all-time favourites) at Page One Bookstore at Vivocity a few years back when it was featured at the entrance glass display, where I loved to browse and previously a corner for storytelling. Sadly, Page One closed, going the way of a few other big bookstores in Singapore in recent years.

So, I was thrilled to subsequently chance upon Duck, the sequel of sorts, as it starts off from the same merry-go-round carousel in Gator, at Times Bookstore. Sadly, like the old school carousel, the picture book shelves in Times have been relegated to the backroom and in its place, Times has expanded its novelty books and toys section. But that’s another story. A less then perfect picture book story.


By Randy Cecil

* A Junior Library Guild Selection,

*Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

*A CCBC Choice for 2009

Publisher: Walker Books

ISBN: 978-1-4063-2492-1


Love, Friendship and Sacrifice


“Duck was a merry-go-around animal who longed to fly. She knew her carved wings were not made for flying. But she couldn’t stop thinking about it, even when the merry-go-round was whirling.”

Then one day, a lost duckling walks into the fairground and into her life. As it turns out, the duckling doesn’t know how to fly. And so begins Duck’s quest to help her little friend to find his wings.

I won’t give away the ending except that true friendship sometimes comes with sacrifice when Duck realises that only real ducks will be able to show her duckling friend flight. The story comes to a beautiful ending where Duck will finally get her chance to take off…if only for a moment.

Why I love this book:

I always find myself drawn to stories with love and sacrifice themes (Yes, I love Charlotte’s Web for the same reason). I think these books just find me somehow. I also love stories with a beginning, middle and an ending, one where a character gives something up and grows through the process – all important parts of writing a perfect picture book with the traditional story arc. And most importantly, the main character Duck’s earnestness made my heart soar like how Duck finally took flight, making this a perfect picture book read.

Fun Recycled Craft:

Check out this ENT specialist’s recycled craft out of an old tin can to make a happy stationary duck that can hold your pencils and pens for penning friendship notes! http://cardsandschoolprojects.blogspot.sg/2011/09/recycled-tin-craft.html

Duck -Recycled Tin Craft014

Or if you want to see Duck fly, check out this Flying Duck Hangup. Just replace the Christmas colours with Duck’s colourful scarf, a key component in Randy’s story illustration! http://craftbits.com/project/flying-christmas-duck-hangup/

Cloth flying duck

You might also want to check out this post which collates several links on more crafty flying ducks. For the advanced crafter!http://findmakedo.blogspot.sg/2010/06/crafty-ducks.html

Remember to pop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog here for more Perfect Picture Book Fridays reads!

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