Posts Tagged ‘emilylimleh’

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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Thank you Straits Times and Elisa Chia for supporting us with a full page feature story in today’s Straits Times Life! on this free e-book which we created as a gift to our community!

Read the full and free-to-read story here:


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Very privileged to be part of this collaboration to produce ‘I Can Recover at Home! – A COVID Home Recovery Guide for Families & Kids’ – together with illustrator Josef Lee and Dr Darryl Lim. We have produced this e-book for young children to provide a reassuring peek into the journey of recovering from COVID at home. It is also meant as a handy guide for parents and caregivers caring for their COVID-positive kids. We’ve packed it with helpful information, useful tips and website links.

This e-book is produced as part of a voluntary community initiative. It is also meant to be a supporting resource for the team of doctors providing free telemedicine care for children with COVID, in support of our Ministry of Health’s Home Recovery Programme.

You can download the FREE e-book from this blog’s homepage (look for download button in top right column).

Please help to share this e-book resource with friends and families with children under 12 years old. Together, we can move towards living with COVID as an endemic!

You can download the free e-book on this blog’s homepage from 14 November 2021!

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I’m over the moon and beaming over the shiny news from the 2021 Moonbeam Awards results!

My Little Series picture books – Little Godwit Finds His Wings/Little Mole’s Awesome Star/Little Mimic’s Superpower – has been awarded Best Picture Book Series (Silver Medal) at the 2021 US-based Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards!

Our Little Series, which I conceived and was illustrated by the talented illustrator John Lim, has been a precious collaboration. And it happened with the wonderful support of our publisher Marshall Cavendish Children and our editor Lydia.

I will be beaming for a while!

My Little Series picture books – Little Godwit Finds His Wings/Little Mole’s Awesome Star/Little Mimic’s Superpower – are available in the bookstores, on Amazon (online overseas) and Times Bookstores (online local).

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At the end of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker in 2020 (Singapore’s version of a lockdown), I found my conversations with my dad had become everything Covid-related. I felt we needed to change the conversation. So, I decided to write his life story.

I interviewed my dad over a series of scheduled interviews (although we live in the same house…LOL).  I recorded and transcribed each interview (my wannabe journalist instincts). Then, I sat down to put it together into a manuscript.

The project came to a pause earlier this year when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. For the next few months, we were in and out of hospitals for consultations, tests and scans. He’s just completed his last cycle of chemotherapy, in time for his 77th birthday. So, it’s been timely that I was able to publish his legacy book in time to celebrate both his birthday and end of chemotherapy treatment.

I blogged last year about how my grandparents moved from China to Singapore in search of a better life around 1940. After World War 2, my grandfather wanted to heed China’s call for their people to return to rebuild the country. He felt a strong sense of duty to his home country.

When my grandmother did not allow him to do so, it led to a heated argument which led to him taking a chopper and chopping off the last finger on his left hand to show his resolve to go back to China. Grandma gave in when he threatened to cut off another finger.

This was what happened next in my dad’s words:

“Father took my two elder brothers and me back to China. Unfortunately, the ship that we were on sank shortly after leaving Hong Kong harbour. I learnt that there were two ships at Hong Kong harbour at that time. There was a storm brewing and that other ship stayed in the harbour. But the ship that I was on set sail and sank shortly after.

According to records, on 19 July 1947, U.S. destroyer ‘Myles C Fox and Hawkins with British escort ship HMS Hart saved the crew and passengers of SS Hong Kheng after the passenger ship had run aground on Chilang Point some eight miles north of Hong Kong. Six motorboats, two from each warship, and two skiffs from Hong Kong made 76 trips to save some 1,800 survivors.’

I was about three years old then and too young to remember. Both my older brothers remembered that when the ship started to sink, my father used a rope to tie all three of us to him to keep us together. My first brother Poh Chan said it was so that we would not get lost.  My second brother Poh Chiew said that the real reason was that if one could not survive, it would ensure that we would go down together.

My family was rescued and brought back to Hong Kong. We subsequently made our way to Xiamen, Fujian and back to our village.

According to an old newspaper clip Straits Echo & Times of Malaya, dated 22 July 1947, “the ship ‘Hong Kheng’ had 1,800 passengers. After the passengers were removed, the ship caught fire spontaneously and all luggage on board was destroyed.””

Grandmother eventually brought my dad back to Singapore and my two uncles remained in China with Grandfather.

This and many more stories of my dad’s and grandparents’ generation are what we’ll pass down to our next generation.

It took the pandemic for me to pause and produce this legacy book. I’m glad that I did as I am richer for it in experience and memories.

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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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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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It is such a blessed treat to see my story with Caleb in Straits Times Life today!

I had involved Caleb in brainstorming ideas last year when publisher World Scientific approached me to write a kids’ travel series set in Asia.

In today’s Straits Times Life (26 April 2021)

“…When she was trying to think up a name for the main character, the boy suggested Polo, after “that famous traveller Marco Polo”…”

My other new release Little Mimic’s Superpower was also featured – it is the third book in my Little series.

“Through facts about unusual animals featured in her titles, she wants to encourage readers to uncover one’s own unique traits…She struggled with a rare voice disorder, Spasmodic Dysphonia, for more than 10 years, making her voice “unique”…

For years, I found it hard to give up my job…because I was afraid that without a corporate suit, I wouldn’t have a place in the world…It was only after letting go of my job that I grew in my Christian faith, which led to a new voice writing children’s books…”

I’m so grateful to journalist Elisa Chia for reaching out to me to write this feature story and arranging my precious first mum-and-son photoshoot!

Online version of the article here:


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