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This year is the 1st time I am missing the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) since it started 7-8 years back. My official AFCC babysitters ie. my parents, are away on holiday, cruising somewhere in Europe.

Although I’m not getting my usual one full week of pure adult, book-geek conversations, I do have one major highlight from the event.

My Slovakian publisher is a speaker at AFCC this year and we had a chance to catch up over lunch yesterday. She also brought with her, hot off the press, and air-flown….Slovak copies of my books!

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I managed to attend Petra’s 1st AFCC session where she shared about the Slovakian market and also read a few pages of Prince Bear & Pauper Bear in Slovak. Petra’s an ex-TV journalist, amongst many other accomplishments. She’s also an uber-cool doting mum of four kids. She brought two of them – teenagers! – along for the conference. Her son helped her through her powerpoint presentation. Her daughter took photos for her.

As I watched them, I wondered if Caleb and I will be like that in 10 years’ time. Something for me to aspire towards!

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I’m delighted to share that Readers’ Favourite has awarded Benji, Yumi, Origami! a 5-star review rating!

Benji & Yumi cover (low-res)

“Benji, Yumi, Origami! by Emily Lim-Leh is a delightful storybook about Benji and his friend, Yumi. Benji’s new neighbor, Yumi, gifts him a book on origami. Benji is excited and he goes through the pictures in the book. He has made origami planes and boats before. He looks at the pictures and tries to make a frog, but is unable to do it properly. He tries to make other animals and insects, but he does not get anything right. Then things change when Yumi visits him and has a different eye for looking at his creations. A bi-lingual book, this story is about friendship and creativity and will entertain young readers. It is also a story that introduces readers to the concept of origami.

I found the story entertaining and engaging. It’s about two kids bonding and also about creating things using paper. The story gives readers an idea about what origami is, and the illustrations are colorful and lively enough to make the book eye-catching. The illustrations also add life to the characters and give a good pace and movement to the story. It’s a good bedtime storybook and can also be used for interactive sessions in classrooms and school libraries. The story is simple, but stimulates creativity in children and will encourage them to try out making new things. Books like this are perfect for kids to inculcate good thinking in them and help them to use their time properly and usefully. Both Benji and Yumi are adorable and have been portrayed well so that young readers can connect with them.”

5star-shiny-web

Readers’ Favourite is a leading US Reviews and Contest site owned and operated by authors. Readers’ Favorite has received the “Honoring Excellence” and “Best Websites for Authors” awards by the Association of Independent Authors, are members of the National Book Critics Circle and National Education Association, and are BBB accredited (A+).

Benji, Yumi, Origami! was authored by me, illustrated by Kazumi Wilds and published by the Singapore Book Council’s AFCC Publications. It is one of the two picture books launched at AFCC 2016, with support from Genting Resorts World Singapore, who also supported its splashy launch here:

Related link:

Benji, Yumi, Origami! makes a splash at Sea Aquarium Fairytale Launch

 

 

 

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For the Asian Festival of Children’s Content this year, author Linn Shekinah wrote an extensively researched essay on the Picture Book landscape in Singapore. She also covered how local Middle Grade books have successfully made their mark here.

Linn, thanks for coining me as one of the New Millennium Pioneers in Singapore’s Picture Book landscape. I feel a little old hearing that but that’s okay. I’m under 65 (in year and age :)) and write for young children, so it keeps me young at heart :).

Picture Book Story page

Page extract from Asia: Land of Perennial Stories

Picture Book Story Pg2

Page extract from Asia: Land of Perennial Stories

Linn’s essay was published in the recently launched AFCC Publication Asia – Land of Perennial Stories, a collection of essays for AFCC. Read more of Linn’s essay here.

 

ASIA Land of Perennial Stories cover

Asia: Land of Perennial Stories is edited by Dr Myra Garces-Bacsal, Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Myra is also Founder of esteemed books website Gathering Books. This is Myra’s third edited book for the AFCC Publications, which include personal reflections from picture book makers, artists, graphic novelists, poets, and middle-grade and young adult fiction writers coming from Asia. The series also includes perspectives from publishers, literary agents, members of the book industry, in addition to academic reflections on Asian children’s literature. 

Asia – Land of Perennial Stories is for sale from The National Book Development Council of Singapore.

Related posts:

Seek Truth, Renovate Scene, Tell Stories

AFCC Snapshot: Close Encounters of the Panda Kind

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After an eventful week at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content, I had the pleasure of attending the AFCC Closing Night dinner at AFCC Chairperson Claire Chiang’s home last Saturday. Ms Claire Chiang and her husband Mr Ho Kwon Ping were most hospitable and their children very kindly chipped in to serve the guests too!

CC Closing Party4

With Ms Claire Chiang, Mr Ramachandran, Book Council Exco members and other guests (Photo credit: David Seow)

I was also delighted to meet Singapore’s favourite Giant Pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia in the living room and could not resist taking a close-up shot with them. It was a close encounter of the panda kind since I write the Kai Kai & Jia Jia picture book series for Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Kai Kai & Jia Jia

I am generally not a photo-person but since author David Seow had his camera on hand and we were chatting with AFCC Keynote Speaker U.S. based author Ying Chang Compestine on her last day at AFCC, I also asked her to pose in a photo with me where I look like I am rubbing shoulders with a multi-multi-award-winning author! She gamely obliged. Ying is also a leading authority on Asian culture and cuisine in the U.S. and former food editor for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine.

Rubbing  shoulders with Ying Chang Compestine, multi-award winning author (to the power of 100)

Rubbing shoulders with Ying Chang Compestine, multi-award winning author (to the power of 100) (Photo credit: David Seow)

After a week of talking about children’s books, I returned home to my talkative munchkin for close encounters of the parenting kind.

Related post:

AFCC Takeaways: Seek Truth, Renovate Scene, Tell Stories

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The Asian Festival of Children’s Content is here and over! It’s been a week of adult conversation on children’s books and content. As I sit back to digest the various sessions, there were 4 immediate takeaways that impressed upon me from the Asian Writer’s And Illustrator’s Conference tract of this week’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content:

Tall Story1. From UK-based award-winning Filipino author Candy Gourlay’s Keynote Speech “Why Asia Needs More Writers for Children and Young People”:

What the U.S. deems ‘diverse books’ in their current “We Need Diverse Books” Campaign are actually our ‘normal books’ here in Asia. And for us here in Asia, whilst we all want to write commercially saleable books, we should really first write who we are. We need to ask ourselves: What is my truth? The rest is technical.
And as we write our local/niche stories, just remember to provide a bridge to the outside world (so they can relate).

 

 

Revolution is not a Dinner Party2. From U.S.-based award-winning China-born author Ying Chang Compestine’s various talks

The first line must hook the reader to read on and the final chapter must end on a satisfying note for the reader.

Whilst I have heard that many times at conferences, this truth really hit me on the head through Ying’s talks and later as she judged on SCBWI’s “First Pages” panel, where writers submitted their first 100 words for professional critiques in a public session (without the brave authors’ names mentioned).

For her multi-award-winning novel Revolution is not a Dinner Party (which has won practically every award there is to win in the U.S.), Ying revised her opening line 100 times. She effectively boiled down 3 paragraphs into a single line, where she captured who and how old her main character is and where the story took place.

And likewise, she revises her manuscripts 80-100 times until she knows it is the best it can be. She spent 3 months revising her final chapter alone. (Ed: I momentarily fainted when I heard that.)

She compares her revisions on plot and setting to setting up a home and asks herself: Is my furniture in the right place? She then moves the pieces around till they are perfectly situated and readers feel they are comfortably there in the scene itself.

LittleWayangKid3. From local film-maker Raymond Tan’s Keynote session “The Urgency of Telling Asian and Local Stories”:

Our generation’s mindset tends to follow the West. But there is an urgency for us to find our own stories and find who we are. The longer we take to find our stories, the more likely someone else will write it for us or it simply gets lost over time. We need to find those nuggets of our stories and bring them out into the sunshine.

(Raymond is the producer of Little Wayang Kid – the short film, then movie, then most recently picture book The Little Wayang Kid (in similar name variations for movie and short film).

4. And my bonus takeaway from this year’s AFCC?

I  spoke on a panel “Unleash Your Potential With Online Platforms” together with creators of time-driven writing and illustration challenges. Sarah Coldheart organizes the local version of NanoWriMo – where participants write a 30,000 word novel in 30 days. Author Tania McCartney spoke about her creation of the 52-week Illustration challenge which she started to get herself drawing again, that has since drawn 4,000 participants. JF Koh, Organiser of International 24-Hours Comics Day, shared about how his Challenge now has 180 local participants come together and sketch a comic in 24 hours and all the benefits he’s enjoyed from it. I shared my experience as the only Singaporean participant of author Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge, where picture book writers are challenged to write 12 drafts in 12 months, where we exchange critiques in a member’s only forum.

My Panel photov2

With fellow panellists (L-R): Tania McCartney, Seriously Sarah, JK Koh and moderator Felicia Low (centre)

During our 1 hour panel session, Illustrator David Liew appeared midway, put his chair in front of us and appeared to be multi-tasking as he sketched and listened to us dialogue.

At the end of the session, he presented us with his own time-driven illustration challenge and my bonus takeaway!

Illustration of Panel

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The Asian Festival of Children’s Content is 1 week away! And I’m looking forward to it on several levels.

As an author, it’s my big book-candystore outing where I get to meet a diverse group of children’s content creators and buy an array of books from the Festival Bookstore and collect autographs on the spot.

As a stay-home mum to my preschooler, it’s my annual 1-week childcare leave ie. I get to leave my child with various family members for 7 full days where I can indulge in adult conversation!

This is my final shout-out for AFCC where you can still sign up for a Full-Day or Full-Festival Pass!

China Artist Qing Feng's Art

China Artist Qing Feng’s Art

Final Kid Portion Highlights:

1) AFCC ‘s country of focus this year: CHINA

After 30 years of development, China has achieved its unprecedented golden era in children’s publishing trade. In 2014, the China market has shown a 10% growth; this anticipates it will continue to rise in the next ten years. In all various picture book markets, China possesses the largest growth among countries.

A delegation of Chinese authors, illustrators and publishers will be at AFCC on 4th and 5th June as well as hold an exhibition at the Central Library Exhibition Area.

AFCC 2015’s Guest Illustrator is Cai Gao, once named China’s most outstanding children’s artist.

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More on the China programme of events at AFCC’s Country of Focus Page.

2) Media Summit

As content creation in today’s marketplace is going 360 degrees strategy-wise, AFCC will also have a 1-day Media Summit, with speakers whose profile includes producers, television/film executives, commissioning editors, screenwriters, authors, publishers, app developers, animators, filmmakers and content creators.

Storytelling from an App

“Storytelling from an App” will see our panellists discuss more about augmented reality, book markets for story apps, “real” and “fictional” worlds, and the future of story apps!

ERIC_HUANG_200_250_90_s_c1Eric Huang, Development Director at Made in Me, an award-winning company in London,  was previously the Managing Editor at Penguin in Melbourne, a Publisher at Funtastic, and Head of Licensing at Parragon Books in the UK.

Shirin_Yim_Bridges_-_WIC_200_250_90_s_c1Shirin Yim Bridges, Head Goose  of Goosebottom Books, Gosling Press, is an Ezra Jack Keats award-winner  for her first book, Ruby’s Wish, The Umbrella Queen made TIME magazine’s Top 10 list for 2008, and she is also publisher of Booklist Top 10 Nonfiction Series Dastardly Dames.

Saad-Chinoy_200_250_90_s_c1Saad Chinoy, Chief Geek, Tusitala (RLS) Pte Ltd.) is charged with Technology for Tusitala, where he’s been developing a digital publishing platform that leverages mobile devices to create unique user experiences.

 

 

 Connecting with Children through Transmedia Storytelling

“Connecting with Children through Transmedia Storytelling” will see UK producer Alison Norrington (Founder of Storycentral) highlighting examples from animation, broadcast and blockbuster movies, and telling us more about children’s consuming stories and transmedia storyworlds that resonate with them.

Unleash Your Potential with Online Platforms

Finally, I will be on a closing panel for the AFCC “Unleash Your Potential with Online Platforms” with three other panellists (creators and participants) behind NaNoWriMo, 52-Week Illustration Challenge, 24-Hour Comics Day, and the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge – discussing how online challenges push illustrators and authors to discover their maximum potential.

 

So, here’s my final goodie bag offering:

4 Toy titles

Share this final post on Facebook or your Blog and stand a chance to win an autographed complete 4-book set of my Toy Titles FREE! For postage reasons, this is open to participants living in Singapore only.

Closing Date is Fri 29th May so share away now!

Also check out AFCC’s programme offerings here.

Earlier AFCC Kid Portion posts:

Kid Portion 1

Kid Portion 2

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As part 2 of AFCC Kid Portions (my countdown to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content), I will be giving away 2 titles from my Toy Series! More of that later in the post.

Meantime, the 3-day Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference track of AFCC looks bookelicious!

I, will for one, be going for a few yummy items on the menu:

Candy-Gourlay_200_250_90_s_c1Why Asia Needs more Writers for Children & Young People

Candy Gourlay will provide give this Keynote speech on how young people seeing themselves in books will empower them, while providing the rest of the world with a window to our diverse cultures.

Based in London, Candy’s debut novel Tall Story was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for 13 awards. It won the 2012 National Children’s Book Award in the Philippines as well as the 2011 Crystal Kite Award for Europe. Her second book SHINE won Candy her second Crystal Kite Award last year, and was nominated for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

ACWIC_Ying_Chang_Compestine_200_250_90_s_c1Children’s Books by the Asian Diaspora and their Relevance to Asian Children

Ying Chang Compestine will also give a Keynote speech, sharing her journey from East to West and discussing challenges an Asian author faces in the Western world.

Based in the U.S., Ying is the versatile and prolific author of 20 books and named one of “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” by the Author’s Show in the U.S.. Her highly acclaimed novel about her life growing up in China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, has received over 33 national awards.

 

Transmedia Publishing and Publishing in the Digital World

Alison-Norrington_200_250_90_s_c1Alison Norrington will compare the traditional book and transmedia stories and how transmedia stories has helped children enjoy reading. Sarah Odedina will discuss the changing landscape of publishing in the digital age and exciting innovations that affect readers, writers and publishers.

Alison Norrington is a writer, producer, CEO and founder of storycentral, a London-based entertainment studio that incubates and develops transmedia properties with global partners.

Sarah-Odedina_200_250_90_s_c1Sarah Odedina served as publishing director of the children’s list of Bloomsbury Publishing – including overseeing and managing the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She is the founder of the successful and award-winning Hot Key Books publishing company.

 

 

 

The Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing: The Good, the Bad and the Fabulous

Finally, I will have the pleasure of moderating a panel of three self-published Singapore-based authors Sarah Mounsey, Emma Nicholson and Hidayah Amin who will advise on the nuts and bolts of the business, including designing, printing and marketing.

Hop over to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2015 to check out the full menu!

 

Children's Picture Book on friendship, sacrifice and self-acceptance

Children’s Picture Book on friendship, sacrifice and self-acceptance

Children's Picture Book on identity and individuality

Children’s Picture Book on identity and individuality

To stand a chance to win my award-winning titles The Tale of Rusty Horse and Just Teddy, simply share this post on your blog or Facebook page. Leave a comment here with the shared link.

Closing date is 17 May and I will randomly draw 1 winner for the 2-book giveaway.

So share away with your friends about the the Biggest Festival on Children’s Content in Asia!

 

The Random Draw Winner is Robert Sim!

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