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Posts Tagged ‘Children’s books’

As I sit down to reflect on the year, I’m wondering why I thought I had a barren writing year. Several big things didn’t turn out as I wanted but there have been so many other things to give thanks for:

1. An Audience of One

It’s been largely a year of writing for an audience of one (me writing my spiritual journal for my own consumption). Although I worried excessively mid-year about my lack of output, I realized on hindsight, that I really needed this time of quiet reflection. I had lapsed back into my rocking horse character (in The Tale of Rusty Horse), concerned about crowd opinion and fretting because one person commented my writing is a hobby.

2. Arise and Read!

In April, Caleb performed at the ARISE! children’s praise concert. The concert opened with Caleb & me doing a book reading of Prince Bear & Pauper Bear. I had never envisioned that I would be on stage with my kid for a mother-son reading. It was a proud mum moment for me.

book reading2

 

3. Prince Bear & Pauper Bear re-staged

In April, The Learning Connection restaged Prince Bear & Pauper Bear over a 10-day run, with requests for extra shows. It was special as it marks 10 years since Prince Bear & Pauper Bear was published.

Storybox theatre

 

4. Writing in the Garden 
In April and May, I ran two public workshops for Gardens by the Bay as part of my writing residency. It was an experience, especially running my first outdoor walking workshop with about 20 families.

GBTB photo 2(PuaySee)

Photo credit (Ong Puay See)

 

5. Pauper Bear and Rusty Horse go Slovakian

In May, the Slovakian edition of my books were published and I got them hot off the press when my Slovakian publisher came to speak at AFCC – the Asian Children’s Festival of Children’s Content. It was an added delight to hear my publisher Petra read a page of the book at the conference where she was a speaker.

Petra's daughter

 

6. More Wild Writing

I completed one more picture book for Wildlife Reserves Singapore. This latest book centres on another endangered animal, following on from my first book Why did the Pangolin cross the Road? The bilingual book be out early next year.

 

7. Global Publishing Conference

It’s been a busy few months as I am on the local organizing committee for Littworld 2018, the global Christian publishing conference to be held in Singapore next year. I thank God that we finally secured the conference venue in November and completed the conference publicity brochure.

LittWorld2018_brochure_1-4_COVER

 

8. Up Close and Personal for Christ 

In October, I shared about my faith and writing journey  at Christ Methodist Church’s “Up Close & Personal” talk series. It was a timely sharing as I became a published author in October 10 years ago.

Christ Methodist talk

 

9. Addressing Cancer with the Word

Late this year, I was invited to submit contributions to two Christian anthologies of sorts. I have completed my submission for one and am in the midst of working on the other. Both involve personal reflections of my recent journey facing breast cancer.

 

10. Write Residency

I just completed my year-long writing residency at Gardens by the Bay. It was deferred from last year as I had been undergoing chemotherapy then. Although I had a slow start, I found new momentum to write in the past few months.

 

11. Find Your Voice, Write Your Story

I’m now preparing to facilitate a 5-session workshop series “Find Your Voice, Write Your Story” on memoir writing in January 2018. Seeing the applicants’ profiles and work samples, I envisage a meaningful exchange on our personal experiences through the written word.

 

As I look back at the year that is passing, I’m reminded to look to God for the year ahead. I started 2017 with grand plans and expectations for my writing but they were all derailed and vanished like a mirage. It disappointed and humbled me. Yet, as I look back, I can now see that I have so much to be grateful for.

So, my writing plan for 2018 is summed up in one word – Gratitude. I look forward to seeing where that leads me.

The mind of man plans his way but the Lord determines his steps.

                                                                              – Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

Related Links:

2016: Fairytale launches, Off-the-chest blogs & other Write moments

 

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Over the weekend, I did a book reading at Bukit Panjang public library as part of NLB’s Read! Fest. It was the 1st day of the library’s reopening after 10 months of renovations. 

Located within Bukit Panjang Plaza, Bukit Panjang public library comes with a frontage that looked like a snazzy retail shop. The display shelves are like that of a bookshop, with fancy ceiling lighting designs that brightens the atmosphere and invites people in. 

I had the pleasure of reading Tibby & Scaredy Snout to a full room of over 50 adults and kids. As there were a good number of older kids in the room, I also gave them a sneak peek into the process of publishing a book.

Last evening, a mum told me that her 6-year old son had been in one of my book readings last year. He told her that he wanted to be an author after my session.

I hope that my readings can continue to encourage and inspire children to find joy in books even as they progress to primary school and beyond.

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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.

chinese-edition

 

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.

tnp-frontpage-retake

 

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

tnppg2-retake

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.

 

wh4_0995

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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This year marks 10 years since I started writing. My debut book Prince Bear & Pauper Bear was published in October 2007, so technically, I have been a published author for 9 years. Whichever way, it is a cause of celebration. Especially since the year took on added significance when I was diagnosed with breast cancer this June.

In 2007, I set up Mustard Seed Books to publish my Prince Bear & Pauper Bear and subsequent 3 Toy Titles, as inspired by the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Matthew 13:32 of the Bible. Although the mustard seed “is the smallest seed of all the seeds, it becomes the largest of the garden plants…so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

Likewise, it was my aspiration that my writing would grow in reach and purpose.

I’m thankful for God’s favour throughout my writing journey this far. This year end will see a total of 30 children’s picture books and 1 memoir published.

I did not imagine that it would all begin with one little picture book about a poor teddy bear whose toymaker forgot to stitch him a mouth so he could not speak…

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SEED Institute recently organized an outdoor event: “Walking Story” on 27 August 2016 at Pasir Ris Park, using materials from the 4-picture book commemorative collection that I had written for the Year of the Co-operatives in 2012.

Various routes were planned for the 4 books and about 50 Chinese preschool teachers participated in an enriching story walk around the park to learn more about using the outdoor environment to enhance their story telling techniques with preschool children.

I was invited to do an autograph session with the participants at the end of the event as each of them would be given one of the books as a gift. I was unable to attend as I’m undergoing chemotherapy. But I did love the idea of the teachers being gifted a copy each so I pre-signed the books at SEED Institute’s office a few days before.

On the Monday after “Walking Story”, I received a phone call from my 5-year old’s Chinese teacher. As it turned out, she was one of the participants. She was especially pleased to receive the autographed copy of my book.

I was also delighted to receive a lovely photo collage from SEED Institute last week.

SeedInstitureWalkingStory.png

The Singapore National Cooperative Federation first published this series, followed by SEED Institute who re-published it as a bilingual series, with support from the Lee Kuan Yew Bilingualism Fund.

Co-op series bilingual.jpg

SEED has also been using these books in their teacher training workshop “Creative Teaching Ideas for Character Development in Early Years” to promote the teaching of character building in preschoolers.

I’m happy to see how far these 4 books have walked over these few years. 🙂

 

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Bilingual Children’s Picture Books for all Singapore Pre-schools

 

 

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Benji, Yumi, Origami! is in the house! Literally. I’ve finally stocked some copies at home.

This picture book saw a splashy launch at Resorts World Singapore’s SEA Aquarium in end May. Then, I encountered a storm one week later with a breast cancer diagnosis and never got round to doing anything for this book.

Benji, Yumi, Origami! is a story about new perspectives and seeing beyond the imperfect.

Benji is a kid who wants to get everything perfect. When he receives an origami present, he sets out, very much by the book, following each step methodically from Page 1.

Insidepage1.png

But origami is a craft that needs skill and patience, and Benji fails to fold his paper animals perfect.

Benji2.png

Just as he reaches the point of giving up, he meets his new neighbour Yumi, who gifted him the origami set.

With Yumi’s encouragement, Benji starts to see his imperfect creations with fresh eyes.

His crumpled frog isn’t really crumpled. That’s his reflection in the water ripples.

Insidepage3.png

From there, a beautiful friendship unfolds as Benji works on his new creations with new perspectives.

Benji, Yumi, Origami! is now retailing at Kinokuniya Singapore.

I’m also offering autographed copies with free delivery (within Singapore) for a limited period only! Send your orders to me through a private message.

Related Links:

Reader’s Favourite awards 5-star rating to Benji, Yumi, Origami!

Benji, Yumi, Origami makes a Splash at RWS’s Sea Aquarium Fairytale Launch

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Tibby the Tiger Bunny, the 1st in my Tibby picture book series, has now been published in Tamil translation by Crimson Earth! Yay!

Tibby Tamil

I also had a glimpse of another rainbow which made my day. I saw illustrator Jade Fang’s amazing storyboards for our 3rd Tibby title- Tibby & Scaredy Snout.

The idea of using a boar for the 3rd book came about when Jade asked if I was going to base the next book on a boar. We had a wild boar in the 1st Tibby book which Jade had drawn the boar so endearingly that it deserved a book of its own.

Tibby & Scaredy.png

A sneak-peek at Tibby & Scaredy Snout’s black & white storyboard

 

Tibby & Scaredy Snout has been my most challenging picture book manuscript to date. It took me 1 year to write this 500-word story as I grappled with how to depict the theme of fear in a way that a young child can understand and relate to.

With Jade’s amazing artwork for this book and the pain it took me to write it, this is shaping up to be my favourite of the Tibby books.

Tibby & Scaredy Snout will be out in October! Just in time for my birthday!

 

 

 

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