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Posts Tagged ‘Picture books’

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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The Slovakian editions of my two picture books Prince Bear & Pauper Bear and The Tale of Rusty Horse have just been printed!

I am eagerly looking forward to collecting my advance copies from my publisher who will be in Singapore as a speaker at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2017 next week.

 

Petra's daughter

My publisher’s daughter holding the advance copies of my books

 

I met Petra Nagyová Džerengová at AFCC a few years back when she attended a panel session that I spoke on. She had come as an invited guest. When she told me that she was the Deputy Mayor of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, I asked if she thought my books would be suitable in Slovakia. She said yes.

I did not know then that Petra (on top of being Deputy Mayor, bestselling author and proud mum of 4 kids) is also Managing Director of leading Slovakian publisher Verbarium.

Thanks to Petra, my books now have a voice in Slovakia! This is the 4th language that my Toy Titles have been published in.

(My books are now also available online at Verbarium’s website.)

 

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Today, I ran a pop-up mini-writing workshop for a group of homeschoolers. This was organized by singer-songwriter & homeschool mum Dawn Fung, who singlehandedly had over 8 kids nicely seated down at Old Chang Kee, with their pens and notebooks out, when I arrived. I take my hat off to this multi-hatted lady. (Actually, I would take my wig off too, but I’m not brave enough yet!)

So over, fishballs and curry puffs, I shared with the children about the inspiration behind how I started writing and took them through the Classic Story Structure, which is the structure I used for my 4 Toy Titles and 3 Tibby Titles.

In a nutshell, the Main Character has a problem, tries to solve the problem 3 times but fails (using the rule of 3), eventually arrives at a solution (which is the story climax) and the story ends with the Story Problem resolved. And on that note, I left the children to think up their stories based on this Classic Story Structure.

oldchangekeetalk

 

 

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The Really, Really Hot Day, along with 4 of my other picture books, will be featured in animation in the storytelling segment of 5 episodes of Junction Tree, Singapore’s 1st bilingual 26-espisode preschool TV series. All 4 of the picture books which I wrote for Singapore National Cooperative Federation, and re-published by Seed Institute, and I Can Do It!, which I wrote for the Ministry of Education for the preschools, are featured.

I had the pleasure of attending the launch Mediacorp’s new preschool series which showed a trailer of The Really, Really Hot Day animation along with other segments of this show.

I enjoyed the show, which reminded me a little of Hi-5 with a little of Sesame Street and lots of Singaporeaness. The different hosts switching between English to Chinese to Malay and Tamil went smoothly and gave it a true Singapore flavor. This series is supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

Junction Tree debuts today on Mediacorp’s Okto Channel!

 

Related Links:

A Very Big Storm on a Really Hot Day

http://tv.toggle.sg/en/channel8/shows/junction-tree-english-chinese/info

 

 

 

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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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Today, I received a most unexpected surprise. It brought good cheer and lifted some mild blues after my doctor postponed my last chemo session (meant for last Friday) till 3 weeks later, pending further review. The New Paper interviewed me a couple of weeks back on my experience and views on self-publishing which has increasingly caught on in Singapore in recent times.

I was told this morning that the article would be out today. But I did not expect Prince Bear, Pauper Bear & their Toy friends to appear like this!

 

I had initially requested that if TNP needed photos, I would just provide one of my earlier photos. So I had showed up with barely any makeup and did not dress up for the interview. I had to draw in my eyebrows though because they have now fallen off!

Well, after a great conversation with journalist Hung Yin, I agreed to her snapping some shots with her iphone. After all, I post my new “hairdo” on my blog, so why do I need to fight shy about it?

Thanks to her photo skills (on top of journalistic skills), the impromptu shots worked out okay 🙂.

TNPpg2 retake.png

The full article in today’s The New Paper is here.

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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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