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Archive for the ‘Preschooler/Toddler’ Category

Dance Collective Kueh Tutus is staging more Just Teddy interactive performances for preschoolers and their parents this August! These performances are across different public libraries in Singapore. Tickets are free but you will need to register at the National Library Board website here. Hurry and sign up for the remaining spots for the show!

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Related Links:

Just Teddy in charming dance act for preschoolers by Kueh Tutus at SWF

Kueh Tutus Facebook Page – Just Teddy shows

 

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When Caleb was 5 years old, he came home lamenting that his Kindergarten classmates could read but he could not.

I asked an early childhood expert how a child starts reading and her advice was simple, “Read to him.”

I’m old school so I bought into it and resolved to read to him daily for his Kindergarten 2 year. (Breast cancer and related treatment got in the way during his Kindergarten 1 year so reading with him took a backseat…and that’s fine.)

 

1st Spark

The 1st spark of reading interest came with the first early chapter book series that I read to Caleb at the start of K2. It was the Magic Treehouse Series. He started carrying a notebook around, like how the main character Jack did, taking notes of interesting observations. I blogged more about that here.

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2nd Spark

I saw the kindling of the 2nd spark when Caleb was about 6 ¾ years old. He started reading the book alongside me as I read aloud to him.

 

3rd Spark

Just before he turned 7 years old, the reading spark fanned into a flame. As I was reading to Caleb during mealtime, he got impatient waiting for me to continue the story in between mouthfuls. He swiped the Kindle off me and that marked the start of his awesome reading journey.

 

The Reading Flame

At 7 years old, Caleb’s appetite for books was ravenous. He consumed early chapter book series faster than I could find new titles. On a few occasions, I simply handed him my Kindle and asked him to search for a new series, which I would vet before we downloaded.

I did a count of the number of books that Caleb read in his Primary 1 year and came to this:

150 early chapter books (consumed mostly during mealtimes) +

150 picture books (devoured usually 3-4 at a time on the royal bowl)

(Most of the early chapter books series were on my Kindle and the picture books were in my study).

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For a parenting talk that I gave recently, I was asked to share with young parents how to build a reader. My tips are very simple and based on my experience:

  1. Read to/with your child
  2. Read for fun & pleasure
  3. Read books that raise him up, read books that keep him grounded
  4. Find out what books interest your child & holds the attention
  5. Encourage expression (through wordplay, word games, even writing simple lists)

For preparing my talk presentation, I decided to google to see if there was any research to back up my experience with Caleb. I was very chuffed to find that it supported what I did. More on that in the follow-up post!

 

Related Links:

Caleb’s Book Plate #1 – Scouring the World for Deliciously Good Books

Caleb’s Book Plate #4 – A Picture Book a Day Ups Your Kid’s Vocab Away

 

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Today, I’m participating in author Susannah Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

My picture book read this week is a gorgeous picture book I came across at the gallery shop at National Gallery Singapore.

Book cover

Title: It might be an Apple

Author & Illustrator: Shinsuke Yoshitake

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Theme: Imagination, Possibilities

Opening line:

“One day, I came home from school.

Hey, what’s that?

On the table, there was an apple.

But wait a minute. It might not be an apple at all…”

 

Synopsis:

There is none on the back cover or inside page. The story simply takes flight with great imagination!

My 8-year old is at a stage where he prefers early chapter books. But he absolutely loves this picture book as he finds every page hilarious. We enjoyed reading aloud together the different forms the apple could take.

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Activity:

This story is about imagination and possibilities.

So, create your own page of what this apple might actually be!

 

Related links:

Perfect Picture Book Friday #12: Sarah Dreams up a New Life & Invention

Perfect Picture Books Friday #11: Sending Balloons and Rice from Heaven

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I’m an advocate for reading for pleasure. And that reading children’s picture books shouldn’t just be written off as child’s play. The benefits are so much richer.

“According to a study published by the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, reading just one picture book to a children every day exposes them to 78,000 words a year.

Researchers have calculated that in the five years before kindergarten kids who live in literacy-rich homes hear about 1.4 million more words compared with children whose caregivers don’t read to them. This is important for their future selves because the ability to communicate well is a skill which employers often cite as something they value in prospective employees.”

Read the full article here: 4 Reasons you should be reading books daily according to Science.

Read Fest!, a month long national reading movement by National Library Board, has just kicked off from now till end July. Reading movements like these help remind us to provide the word-wings for our little ones to soar and be better equipped to articulate their way in the world.

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Over the weekend, I did a book reading of Little Godwit Finds His Wings at Bishan public library to a group of children and their adults as part of Read Fest!

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With a few of the kids after the book reading session, which is part of National Library Board’s national reading movement

Related Links:

Little Godwit soars into the Power of Stories in Star Learners project

Little Godwit’s Solo Flight & Finding Wind beneath His Wings

 

 

 

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The Kueh Tutus, a dance collective group, will be staging a dance adaptation of Just Teddy! This performance weaves in dance, theatre, music and art into a delicious interactive family show for kids between 2 – 4 years old and their grown-ups accompanying them.

There will be 10 Just Teddy dance-theatre performances across several public libraries in Singapore. The shows are FREE but registration is required as there is a limit on the number of attendees per show.

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The June shows are open for registration at National Library Board’s website here:

The registration for the July and August shows will be up on the same link at a later date.

 

Just Teddy is inspired by my own search for identity and belonging after I lost my voice to a rare voice disorder right after I got married. It is an IPPY Bronze Medal Winner and the 3rd book in my 4-picture book Toy Series. Very encouraged that my Toy books have since sold over 55,000 copies and been published in 5 countries.

Book a date with your little tots and help Just Teddy complete his story in his quest for a place to belong!

 

Related Links:

Kueh Tutus do the teddy bear dance at Singapore Writer’s Festival

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This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of accompanying Little Godwit to Toa Payoh neighbourhood to get acquainted with some ‘young birdwatchers’.

I had a back-to-back reading with my dear friend Hwee Goh at HDB Hub’s atrium. Hwee read from the final book in her early chapter book series The Plano Adventures. I read Little Godwit Finds His Wings. Our readings were part of the Buy SingLit movement’s Art in Your Neighbourhood and our sessions were organized by the gorgeous independent bookstore Woods in the Books.

 

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I had a lovely young assistant Leesha help with my storytelling session.

 

John Lim, who illustrated Little Godwit, showed the kids how to draw godwits. I told John that he and I are about the same age… if we go by the number of years that we have been at our craft. It’s all relative…haha.

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John illustrates the awesome little godwit

 

My amazing publisher was on hand – Lydia, my wonderful editor and Mindy, our beautiful marketing manager.

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From left: Mindy, Me, Hwee & Lydia

 

Author friend Eva came to support, along with Evelyn, one other dear friend, and also a surprise turn-up by cousin Shu Ling and her family.

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We are not blatantly promoting our books. We are simply plugging for each other!

 

Sometimes, like Little Godwit, you need to go the extra distance alone. But sometimes, it also helps to have some of your flock there to roost with you, especially after a rough flight over the valley of darkness.

I’m emerging from my hibernation mode slowly and taking some early flights with Little Godwit.

Related links:

Reader’s Favourite! Little Godwit finds his way to 5 shiny stars!

Little Godwit Finds His Wings into Straits Times Bestseller List

 

 

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I share the birth of my latest picture amidst a very challenging and heart-wrenching time for my family as we see a loved one critically ill. But amidst the darkness, we need to look up and seek out our spots of joy.

Godwit Reveal

Little Godwit Finds His Wings has been on a parallel journey with me over the past 2 years. Like the story’s main character who lay forgotten and hatched late, my manuscript took a similar path.

Shortly after I wrote my Little Godwit manuscript in 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As my focus turned to treatment, I lost my writing spark and confidence. My picture book writing came to a standstill and after a while, I forgot about this manuscript. Little Godwit stayed stillborn in the winter of my writing journey.

In early 2018, I was approached to be one of the judges for the Hedwig Anuar Children’s book awards. Our Book Council couriered a box of 65 books to my home as part of the judging process. As I ploughed through the picture books submitted, one book caught my eye. It was illustrated by Neal Sharp, the first illustrator I ever worked with 12 years ago. Neal was my illustrator for my debut series Prince Bear & Pauper Bear, The Tale Of Rusty Horse, Just Teddy and Bunny Finds the Right Stuff.

The publisher for Neal’s book was Marshall Cavendish, who until not so long ago, did not publish children’s books.

I was reminded of my Little Godwit manuscript. Being in my winter season, I had very little expectations. But I sent it to Marshall Cavendish anyway.

The editor replied in 3 days to ask me which illustrator I wanted to work with on this. I was so surprised that I didn’t respond back till a few days later.  From there, Little Godwit went from a delayed hatch to soaring ahead at great speed. We settled on the illustrator I liked within a month. John and I connected instantly when we discovered we shared a similar creative vision. It was a dream collaboration reminiscent of when I worked with my first illustrator more than 30 books ago.

Being the typical results-oriented Singaporean, I had lost sight of enjoying the journey and was simply chugging ahead towards the next published book and next accolade.

God, in His Wit, inspired my writing of Little Godwit and rerouted me back onto the right write path. And likewise, my Little Godwit character detours in his migration journey before his inner compass brings him back on track and he finds his strengths.

Working on Little Godwit rekindled my love for picture books and I learned to take time to savour the creative process once again. I had the opportunity to work very closely with John to achieve our creative vision for the book. And that is really thanks to our amazing editor Lydia from Marshall Cavendish who made this happen.

Little Godwit Finds His Wings will find his way to the bookstores soon. I’ll share on Little Godwit’s story over the next few days or so.

                                                         The Godwit-version of  John & I

 

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I’m otterly delighted to share that Little Otter, Litter Trouble has just been published by Wildlife Reserves Singapore. This book is inspired by the true story of Toby, a smooth-coated otter pup that was left behind by his family after he ran into an accident.

I’ve had the pleasure of working on the book with Florence Chang, Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s Assistant Director of Education, and learnt a few important tips on how we should respond to otters in the wild. All that has gone into the story so read it there!

Left: WRS’s Florence Chang, Illustrator Cheng Puay Koon & me. Right: Toby!

 

Little Otter, Little Trouble is the 2nd book on local wildlife conservation, following Why Did the Pangolin Cross the Road?, both supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism. These books, along with the 3-book Kia Kia & Jia Jia series which I wrote, are for sale on the Wildlife Reserves Singapore online shop here.

Pangolin Otter

Related Link:

Why did the Pangolin cross the Road?

 

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Today, I had the pleasure of seeing of my picture book Just Teddy cross platforms into a special dance performance for 2-4 year olds by millennial dance troupe The Kueh Tutus as part of the Singapore Writer’s Festival 2018.

I was delighted to watch this 45-min dance theatre show which had kids bring along their teddy bears. This fresh interpretation of my book in dance form had parents and their young children interact with the dancers at various segments of the performance. From helping to patch up Just Teddy to unraveling him from the string which had him all knotted up.

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At the book signing table after the show, I chatted with a parent who bought my books. She told me that she had gifted one of my Toy titles (Bunny Finds the Right Stuff) to a friend who had gone through a miscarriage. She shared that this picture book had brought comfort to her friend.

I was amazed to hear that a little picture book could speak to a person hurting in such a situation. Although I self-published this 4-book Toy Series (which includes Just Teddy) under my Mustard Seed Books imprint, I’m reminded that this has to do with less of “self” and more of God. After all, I am Just Human. I can scribe the words but only God can reach the heart.

Related links:

SWF for Families 2018 – Create Your Own Dance Story with Just Teddy

Bunny Finds The Right Stuff at Esplanade Theatre

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My entire Tibby picture book series has now been translated into the Tamil language for the Singapore market by Crimson Earth! I had the pleasure of collecting my author copies at AFCC 2018 and, as always, it was a thrill to see my books in another language.

I hope my Tibby books will continue to hop to new places and more bookshelves.

TibbyTamil

 

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