Posts Tagged ‘children’s book author’

I finally met (or bumped) into my littlest and cutest reader ever! Declan is my dear, dear friend Jamie’s nephew and loves books. Jamie was there with him to buy an encyclopedia on ocean animals which he wanted. And that was just after she had read him my book Marky Polo in Tokyo at home.

“Which of Auntie Emily’s books do you like best?” Jamie asked her little nephew.

“Everything!” Declan declared.

Wah! First Prize answer. I asked for permission to take photos with him. 😊😄🤩

A coincidental meeting in matching dye tie clothing

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For World Voice Day on Sat 16 April, NSDA invited me to speak up, along with other voices around the world.

When I was going through my lowest with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a rare voice disorder, I found answers and support through the National Spasmodic Dysphonia’s online bulletin board.

So, I was very happy to be able to contribute my voice to NSDA’s One World-Many Voices theme for this year’s World Voice Day.

Hear more voices around the world at NSDA’s World Voice Day page.

World Voice Day

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What’s the best birthday present for a picture book fan-girl?


I selected the titles in advance and had my girlfriends hand it over as my birthday bookquet. Yah…not shy. More on these books another time.

And the best brunch venue for a hotel-executive-turned-author?


Dining in a library lounge setting in Six Senses Hotel.

Cook & Tras Social Library’s menu comes with a copyright page and in chapters.


It doesn’t take much to make me happy (a girlfriend says I shouldn’t say that out loud. 😂)

Related Links:

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made, Bear-hugged & Upliftingly Said (Part 2)

Picturing Books: Bear-Hugged, Rojak Recipe & Mo’s Elephant End


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Yesterday evening, I received the loveliest gift at my doorstep.

My friend Suzanne specifically had a scarf made for me and a blanket made for Caleb.


Scarf for me and blanket for Caleb

The pattern on them were lines upon lines of words.

All the words came from five manuscripts.


The manuscripts came from five picture books.

My 5 book covers

Now, Caleb and I can be fully wrapped up in Story.


Caleb reads his blanket and discovers that he recognises the stories

Suzanne, thanks for this wonderful heartfelt gift! I am so blessed beyond words!


Related Links:

Help! Vote Little Godwit for POPULAR Readers’ Choice Awards 2019!

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear named one of Singapore’s 10 best picture books


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I was thrilled that the Star Learners preschool chain selected Little Godwit Finds His Wings as their mentor text for their chain-wide Star project. For this project, the centers took reference from Little Godwit’s story to create their own centre’s The Power of Stories projects.


Screen set up for puppet-based storytelling. The birds on the white board were created for craft and storytelling

I had the pleasure of visiting a centre that staged a puppet show based on my book. I also visited 3 other Star Learners centers to share with the children how stories come about and the story behind my stories.

I’m happy that Little Godwit, the left-behind bird who could, flew into many neighbourhoods in Singapore through this starry project.

Related Links:

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

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

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Today, I am delighted to feature author Vivian Kirkfield, my very first blogger friend.

In 2010, Vivian linked her blog to an article I had written about picture books for an e-zine.

In 2013, I invited Vivian to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content as a speaker on the preschool education track. At that time, she was a blogger-educator who had self-published Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. She was also an aspiring picture book author, working hard on her dream.

Now in 2019, she is a multi-published picture book author with three picture books out this year and two more next year. That is the sweetest dream come true for an author!


Written by Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by Chris Ewald

Creston Books


Picture this:

Sweet Dreams Sarah is about one of the first black woman patent holders Sarah E. Goode, who was born into slavery and lived through the end of the American Civil War with a dream to fufill. Her successful patent of a cabinet bed in 1883 made her one of the forerunners to a whole lineup of black woman inventors.



I love how Vivian took a weighty subject and broke it down into such accessible and lyrical picture book language that a young child would be able to understand.

1. Mum-mum: What sparked your interest on Sarah and made you decide to write her story? 

Vivian: Right after I took an online class in writing nonfiction, I was scrolling through lists of ‘the first woman to do this or that’…and I came upon Sarah E. Goode as being one of the first African American women to secure a U.S. patent…in 1885. And I thought…wow…that was only 20 years after slavery was abolished…what a fabulous accomplishment for someone who had been owned…and now she was the owner of a patent.  And I knew it was a story I wanted to tell.


2. Mum-mum: What was the biggest challenge writing this story? You make such a weighty non- fiction story so readable. 

Vivian: Thank you for your kind words, Emily! I think that is the challenge when it comes to writing nonfiction picture book biographies. We need to make them enjoyable to read. Teachers are looking for nonfiction ‘stories’…with an emphasis on the storytelling aspect of the book. They don’t want a list of facts or a textbook…that won’t encourage kids to pick up the book and turn the pages.

I had to find something in Sarah’s story that kids could relate to…I think most kids have dreams. They might want to be a fireman or an astronaut or own a horse and drive a car. So, right in the beginning, I establish that Sarah had dreams…and throughout the story, with every page turn, she works at building her dream into a reality.


3. Mum-mum: What was your personal takeaway from working on this story? 

Vivian: My personal takeaway from working on this story was that ‘nothing is impossible if you can imagine it’…that was Sarah’s philosophy and it lined up perfectly with my own. I could understand how she refused to give up…refused to accept failure…she just kept right on going and rebuilding until she got it right. And it couldn’t have been easy, being an African American woman in Chicago in the 1880’s…so many restrictions and prejudices against her…just as a woman. As I learned more about Sarah Goode, I learned more about myself and what I am capable of …and that was very empowering!


4. Mum-mum: Can you sum up this book in 1 sentence? 

Vivian: Nothing is impossible if you can imagine it and the only failure is the failure to keep trying.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be on your blog and share my thoughts with your readers, dear Emily!

Mum-mum: Thank you, Vivian! The pleasure is mine. And here we are at Raffles Hotel Singapore in 2013!

Vivian AFCC 2013

Related Links:

Vivian Kirkfield – Writer for Children

Conversations on the High Chair #14- Author-Educator Vivian Kirkfield Shows Me How


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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.


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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Recently, I made author visits to three Red Schoolhouses. I read my Tibby books to preschoolers from 2 – 6 years old and shared a bit more about my books with the older kids.

Children are never too young to be exposed to books and reading, like the 2-3 year olds I read to today. And it’s perfectly fine when they fidget. My 6-year-old has always been that way. And when I stop reading, he stops fidgeting to ask me to read on!



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At the start of this year, I had a sense that it would be a significant year since 2016 marks 10 years since I started writing. I just did not know how significant it would be until it hit me in the chest on 1 June when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Through it all, the Word has been front, back and centre in my life:

1. Bunny Finds the Right Stage

In March, Esplanade Theatre staged my book Bunny Finds the Right Stuff in a 30-show run for their PLAYtime! children’s theatre. It was a huge delight to see my book come alive on stage in an excellent production.

bunny Esplanade flyer (front)

Esplanade also staged what was probably a first with one Bunny Finds The Right Stuff special theatre show tailored to special needs kids.

StraitsTimes 5Mar2016

Bunny theatre show in the news – Straits Times 5 March 2016


2. Benji, Yumi, Origami’s Splashy Launch

To mark Singapore-Japan’s 50 years of friendship this year (SJ50), the Book Council invited me to write a picture book in collaboration with Japanese illustrator Kazumi Wilds based on the theme of Friendship. Another team of a Japanese author and Singaporean illustrator collaborated for the other book.

Genting Resorts sponsored the two English-Japanese bilingual picture books and splashy book launch at their Resorts World SEA Aquarium. It was a fairytale evening which gave me much to soak in before the storm that came a week after.

ST_20160528_NAJAPAN_2322659 (Straits Times photo of Benji, Yumi)

Source: Straits Times news article 28 May 2016

3. God Knows Me & my Inside-out Kid Leh     

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis on 1st June this year sparked off a start of journaling for me, a writing discipline that I failed to do for years.

I was also prompted in my heart to blog about my journey facing off with breast cancer – which led to my God Knows Leh and Inside-Out Kid blog series – where I shared my raw and blemished off-the-chest experiences, from diagnosis to my latest stage of treatment.

My creative children’s book writing took a back seat for the past 6 months. I did however write one new picture book manuscript which delighted me greatly and lifted my spirits during a slightly down-stage when I first started chemotherapy.

chemo chair

4. Tibby in Tamil translation

Tibby the Tiger Bunny was published in Tamil Edition! Always a thrill to see my books in a new language.

Tibby Tamil

5. Prince Bear & Pauper Bear’s journey to Slovakia

In August, I was delighted to ink a licence agreement for two of my Toy Titles (Prince Bear & Pauper Bear and The Tale of Rusty Horse) to be published in Slovakia in the Slovakian language. This marks the 5th country that my Toy Titles will be published in.


6. My Toy Titles’ extended stay in China

I was pleasantly surprised when my China publisher renewed their licence for the Chinese edition of my 4 Toy Titles for a second term. So Prince Bear, Pauper Bear & their Toy friends will extend their stay in China for some more years.



7. My Toy Titles make cover page on The New Paper

A reporter contacted me in October to interview me on my experience with self-publishing. I was going to pass up on the interview as I was going through chemotherapy -I was on my hiatus from writing and publishing stuff and also didn’t want to be photographed.

So, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise when my four Toy Titles made cover page of The New Paper’s Sunday edition.



And I decided to be brave and say yes to an impromptu photo with my “new hairstyle”.


8. Tibby, Scaredy Snout & 10 years of Write Stuff

In late November, I launched my latest picture book Tibby & Scaredy Snout in a private party which was also to mark the end of my last chemotherapy session. It was a double celebration and thanksgiving party with family and friends.



Book Launch & Thanksgiving Celebration




9. Gardens Residency

I was awarded a writing residency at Gardens by the Bay this year. So, I will start 2017 with a walk in the park and smelling the flowers as I find the write stuff for my residency manuscript.


As I sit in the final days of 2016, I look to 2017 and declare it as my year of Purpose – where I pray that the work of my hands will be purposeful and my words will be well-chosen.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”                                 – Proverbs 19:21

Related Posts:

2015 Reflections -Writing, Waiting & Great (leveling of) Expectations




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Today is TGIFFFF- Thank God for Favour, Family & Friends Friday:


  1. Fab Family

I thank God for my family’s pillars of support through this journey.

On the week before my chemo, I had planned to shave my head alone and spend the rest of the day crying at home.

But Ben had another plan. He and Caleb stayed with my through the shave. I only teared for 1 minute because my little one next to me made me laugh. He pulled a chair next to me and drew an airplane which dripped pee from its plane toilets onto the heads of bad guys below. How do you cry amidst such absurdity?


Post-shave, sporting my new K-Pop star look

Then my parents and brother’s family showed up unexpectedly to wait for me to finish my shave and wig-fitting.

So that was the end of my grand crying plan.




2. Kick-butt friends

On the morning of my 1st chemo and post-op treatment, I woke to whatsapp messages from several friends who remembered and told me they were praying for me.

My very dear friend Arlene sent me a whole series of booster messages throughout my 5-hour treatment. And this was from Australia where she is visiting family.

She tagged them as #watchemilybeatcancer.

My girlfriend Gail came over to watch Caleb all of this Monday afternoon as he was home sick in the week where my immunity is supposed to be at its lowest.

And she has re-arranged her schedule to do so every Monday. She has four kids and she is carving out time to watch mine. I’m so overwhelmed by her love and friendship. (Gail, thanks for being the bestest friend ever :)).


3. For my 1st cycle of chemo and anti-breast cancer drugs treatment, I had 4 drugs intravenously injected into my arm in slow drip over 5 hours:

Taxotere + Carboplatin (chemo drugs) + Herceptin + Pertuzumab (breast cancer drugs)

(Who on earth comes up with these unspellable names?)

Because I responded well, the nurse told me that I could have a light lunch one hour into the first drug.

So I ate a packet of chicken rice.

When my oncologist came round to see how I was faring, I told him that I just finished Herceptin (the 1st anti-HER-2 drug) and chicken rice.

His jaw dropped. In a good way.


1 day post-chemo, headed to clinic for my 1st booster jab


4. Prior to this, I checked up with 4 breast cancer survivors and was told a loss of appetite and depleted energy are huge side effects of chemo, amongst a few others.

Thanks to everyone’s prayers and God’s medicine (3 doses of Bible a day), I’ve had very little side effects in week 1. I have also continued eating like a horse and been able to taste and enjoy my food.

And I was so energized creatively this week that I have started working on a new picture book manuscript for the first time since my diagnosis 7 weeks back. Which perked me up even more.

5. Yesterday was the Singapore Michelin Guide Launch and Awards Dinner. Ben had bought a table months back. We decided to invite the team of doctors who have attended to me as our appreciation for taking care of me beyond their call of duty. (On top of doctoring me, my poor doctors have to take questions from me about God, life and healing!)

I wasn’t sure if I would make it to dinner since I had just started chemotherapy.

So yesterday, on day 7 post-chemo, my Onco saw me for my blood count. My white blood cells count and immunity registered an all-time high from the preceding 5-days of booster jabs. So, it was two thumbs up for yesterday evening’s dinner. And then, Onco saw me at dinner a few hours later!

So, I got ready for my 1st outing in 7 weeks that didn’t involve seeing doctors.

Pre-Michelin Dinner

Oh…that’s technically incorrect.

My outing did involve my doctors. We had a table of my oncologists, plastic surgeon, breast surgeon, and we invited my eye surgeon friend.  So, all round, I was in very good hands all evening.


With my beautiful surgeon friends


My dream team of doctors who look like they just stepped out from Grey’s Anatomy and E.R… except these lookers are for real. Step aside, Mc Dreamy.



Attending the Oscars of Dining Awards



I’m so thankful for God’s Favour, Family and so many awesomely kick-butt Friends (including my amazing doctors) who are supporting me through this journey.

I continue to pray for completion and restoration through it all.

Psalm 69:30: I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.

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