Archive for the ‘Picture Books’ Category

Had the pleasure of launching our Marky Polo in Beijing at the Singapore Writers Festival two Saturdays back.

These in-person events are so few and far between these days that it was the only time that illustrator Nicholas Liem and I have met since the kick-off meeting on this book at the start of this year. I’m glad we did so we could finally take some photos together!

There were plenty of safe management measures in place. We could not talk or socialise with the audience. Seats came with sticker labels, reminding people to sit apart.

Our welcome pack include ART swab kits – truly a sign of the times.

There was no Festival bookstore in Arts House, to reduce mingling. Instead, the charming National Library Board bus was parked outside Arts House and was the “pop-up bookstore”

What really warmed my heart happened after our event.

A family of four came up to me to ask for autographs. The mum said she was glad to see me as they were told that they could not speak to us at the event. She shared that her kids have loved my books from young. Then she pulled out 3 of my books for autographs. One of the books was my first edition of The Tale of Rusty Horse ie. my first print-run of the book from 13 years ago!

It would be an understatement to say that it absolutely warmed the cockles of my heart to see that this family had kept my book with them for 13 years and then taken the trouble to bring it to Arts House (in this Covid climate) to get me to autographed it!

Thank you to this lovely family for their encouragement and also such an uplifting reminder why I continue to plough on and write!

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Thrilled that Marky Polo gets a spot in Straits Times’s Fun with Kids column for his travels to Beijing in both the print and e-edition of Straits Times Life today!

The e-version of Straits Times Life includes a pagespread from our book!


The print edition has a different layout format.

Whichever way, I’m delighted all round!

Get your copy of Marky Polo in Beijing in the bookstores or with World Scientific Education’s online store!

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! Marky Polo in Beijing arrived at my doorstep hot of the press today!

In the second book in our Marky Polo’s Travels series, Marky’s cousin Martial Polo invites him to Beijing, after hearing of his first trip overseas to Tokyo. Martial Polo is a Wushu enthusiast who dreams of being a renowned martial arts expert like Great-grandmother Muay Thai Polo. Martial turns Marky’s holiday into an exhausting strength-building, endurance-training workout. Can Marky endure Martial’s bossy nature and find a way to enjoy sightseeing in Beijing at a slower pace?

Marky Polo in Beijing is packed with amazing illustrations of Beijing, a humorous and entertaining story and lots of fun facts. We hope kids can travel vicariously through the pages of this augmented reality integrated children’s book and enjoy this educative read. Inside pages to follow in the next post!

Thrilled to have worked on this with amazingly talented illustrator Nicholas Liem and World Scientific Education. And of course our taskmaster cum Publisher Ruth Wan who brought Nic and I together for this fantastic collaboration.

You can visit World Scientific publishing website to pre-order the book before it hits the bookstores: https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/12485

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When Kai Kai and Jia Jia first arrived in Singapore in 2012, Wildlife Reserves Singapore approached me to write the giant pandas’ story. As it was their wish that the giant pandas would produce a baby, could I bring baby panda into the story?

Fiction preceded reality.

Three Kai Kai & Jia Jia books were birthed between 2012 – 2015:

In the first book, A New Home for Kai Kai & Jia Jia, the giant pandas get to know Singapore and their friendly neighbours living at River Safari.

In the second book, The River Adventure of Kai Kai & Jia Jia, Kai Kai & Jia Jia go on a river cruise adventure to welcome their new neighbours – the giant river otters. Jia Jia doesn’t feel well through the cruise but later discovers that she isn’t ill, but pregnant.

In the third book, The New Face at River Safari, the giant pandas and their friends prepare for the arrival of baby panda.

What lovely news to see it happen for real, with Kai Kai and Jia Jia now new parents of baby panda!

Kai Kai & Jia Jia’s picture books are sold at Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s e-bookstore and physical stores at the Singapore Zoo and River Safari.

More of Kai Kai & Jia Jia’s story of how their baby came to be – at Mothership:


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I’m delighted to have stumbled on a performance that children from an international school here in Singapore put up based on my book The Tale of Rusty Horse. It looks like a parent posted the video to Youtube.

This was the book that almost didn’t see light of day because I was concerned that it would not measure up to my debut picture book Prince Bear & Pauper Bear. My sequel book syndrome…haha.

It was also 2008 – a pivotal point in my life when I was trying to decide if I should pursue writing or say “Been there, done that in my sabbatical” and beg my former bosses for a corporate job back.

In the story, Rusty Horse was torn between crowd opinion and being true to himself. I too was torn between choosing to return to the glamour of a hotel job or pushing books to schools with my lonesome trolley. There were conflicting voices on both ends.

I finally listened to the inner voice and decided to be true to self – pursue writing and not look back. Shortly after, I became the first author in South-East Asia to win a Moonbeam when Rusty Horse giddied-up away with the Gold medal at the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in 2009. It felt like Heaven’s nod to my station in life.

And Rusty Horse has remained a favourite with several friends, which I have been giddy with delight to know that.

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Marky Polo in Tokyo was launched at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2021 (AFCC) through a book talk where illustrator Nicholas Liem and I were moderated by bestselling author and former journalist Hwee Goh.

If you missed the live on-line session at AFCC last month, it is now available here:

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Last week, I received a delightful email from a young reader’s mum. Her 7-year-old wanted to share the story of Little Otter, Litter Trouble with his friends. Could they have permission to do a video recording of Alexander reading this book for his Student Learning Space (SLS) so he could share the story with his classmates?

It was of course a resounding “Yes” from Wildlife Reserves Singapore, my publisher of this book and myself. Such enthusiasm from a young reader is an encouragement to an author and also a validation of Wildlife Reserve Singapore’s efforts in creating awareness of our local wildlife here in Singapore.

Once thought to be extinct in Singapore, there are now at least 90 otters from 10 families thriving here. Litter can however threaten the well-being of our new residents. 80% of litter on land finds its way to rivers and oceans, polluting the environment and threatening aquatic and marine animals such as otters. And we can all help by not littering, so this amazing species can continue to thrive in our island-state.

(Video from Alexander’s mum Cherie Gwee)

I wanted to send a little encouragement back to this little reader, so I mailed him an autographed copy of Hornbills in Our Neighbourhood, my latest book in this wildlife series. I hope Alexander will develop an interest in these amazing birds too!

This series of picture books is available at Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s online store.

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Just Teddy (Psalm 139:14) just got dubbed in Mandarin in a new animation video produced by Our Daily Bread Ministries Taiwan!

I love how expressive the voice-overs are in this storytelling and how it brings out the translated title ‘Ordinary Extraordinary’ so beautifully. Fearfully and wonderfully made indeed.

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Marky Polo is in today’s Straits Times Life!

In ‘3 Things to Do Today’, Straits Times’ Stephanie Yeo recommends reading new local children’s books:

“Meet Marky Polo, an adorable pangolin who comes from a family of famous travellers with hilarious names (dad is Masala Polo and mum is Mala Polo and both are spice collectors). On his first overseas trip, Marky visits his cousin in Tokyo and gets into all sorts of adventures when his luggage is lost…

Marky Polo in Tokyo is a fun romp around the city’s attractions that is suitable for readers aged five to nine…

But what makes it more exciting is augmented-reality experience, which is accessible when you download the SnapLearn app. Take a selfie with Marky, see the Tokyo Skytree in a 360-degree photo and watch a rainbow cotton candy being made in Harajuku….”

Marky Polo in Tokyo is available in local bookstores and online at World Scientific’s online Lazada store page (currently at a promotional price).

The book is also available in our local libraries. Check it out with your kids and snap some selfies with Marky too!

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When my Mustard Seed Books imprint entered into a collaboration with Our Daily Bread Ministries to publish a Psalm 139 adaptation of Just Teddy, I hoped that it would serve a purpose. I just did not imagine this little picture book to grow to a circulation of 50,000 copies!

I’m encouraged by the number of Just Teddy books that has reached small hands. I hope that it sows seeds in these little ones that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.

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