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Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

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 excited to share that The Learning Connection with be staging Prince Bear & Pauper Bear as an interactive storytelling performance for 10 shows this April!

The Learning Connection first staged Prince Bear & Pauper Bear 4 years back, with a weekend launch at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

This year is especially special for me since it is Prince Bear & Pauper Bear’s 10th anniversary of publication. I hope this book (my very first book written) will delight readers and audiences for many more decades to come!

Details for the show are here:

Story Box - Prince Bear & Pauper Bear Mailer (2017) final.jpg

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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.

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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.

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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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I’m excited to share that I have signed a translation rights agreement with leading Slovakian children’s book publisher Verbarium who will publish two of my children’s picture books in Slovakia. This series comes under my self-published Mustard Seed Books imprint.

The two titles, Prince Bear & Pauper Bear and The Tale of Rusty Horse are part of my bestselling 4-picture book Toy Series which has sold over 45,000 copies to date. Slovakia will mark the first entry for my books into a European country and the 5th country to publish my Toy Series, following Singapore, Korea, China and Malaysia.

Children's Picture Book on friendship, forgiveness & second chances

Children’s Picture Book on friendship, forgiveness & second chances

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

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

Vebarium is the only publishing house in Slovakia that offers high quality children’s literature of awarded contemporary and classical authors. It aims to strengthen the diversity of high quality literary works for the young in Slovakia and to reach new audiences by introducing quality children’s literature from Asia.

Vebarium is helmed by Managing Director Petra Nagyová Džerengová, the ex-Deputy Mayor of Bratislava and still the member of city parliament and city cultural and social affaires committees. Petra is also a bestselling author for adults and children’s books in Slovakia.

Petra says, “I was an invited guest to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2014 in Singapore and met Emily Lim when I attended a panel that she spoke on. I found her books very appealing for our Slovakian market. We look forward to successfully launching her books in Slovakia next year and introducing our children to quality children’s literature from Singapore.”

Book Council Executive Director Mr Ramachandran accompanying Petra Nagyova Dzerengova, Deputy Mayor of Bratislava, Slovakia on her visit to Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office & Ministry of Culture, Community of Youth, Mr Sam Tan during AFCC 2014

Book Council Executive Director Mr Ramachandran accompanying Petra Nagyova Dzerengova, Deputy Mayor of Bratislava, Slovakia on her visit to Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office & Ministry of Culture, Community of Youth, Mr Sam Tan during AFCC 2014

 

I received Petra’s offer terms a week before my breast cancer diagnosis and worked through the contract within a few weeks. I’m thankful for my lovely literary agent Andrea who helped me get the contract work in place quickly in the midst of me signing consent forms for my mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries!

As I lift my eyes up to what’s ahead after my chemotherapy is over, I am thankful for this rainbow that brightens my horizon. I believe there are more good things to come.

 

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Last week, I had a fairytale book launch when Benji, Yumi, Origami! was launched at Resorts World’s S.E.A Aquarium as part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content’s (AFCC) Japan Night.

Benji & Yumi cover (low-res)

My book was one of two titles specially published by AFCC and sponsored by Genting Singapore to celebrate 50 years of friendship between Singapore and Japan (SJ50).

The Singapore-Japan collaborative effort was to have 1 Singapore author and 1 Japanese illustrator work on one book. The other book, Monster Day on Tabletop Hill, was in turn written by 1 Japanese author and 1 Singaporean illustrator. Both books are in English-Japanese bilingual edition.

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I chose to write my Friendship-themed story around a Singaporean kid who becomes friends with his new Japanese neighbour after she gifts him with an origami activity book. Beyond the friendship theme, I also chose to write a story about imperfection. Benji is focused on getting his origami paper animals perfect and reaches a point of giving up when he fails to achieve that. His new friend Yumi shows him a surprising new way to view his imperfect origami creations.

This book launch evening had the makings of a swimmingly great tale:

1. The opening line 

One of the keys of writing great children’s books is the opening line of the book- it has to hook the reader.

The event was held inside Resorts World’s S.E.A Aquarium – the World’s largest aquarium and maritime museum in the world. The venue of the evening had me hook, line and sinker.

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2. The story setting 

How an author sets the scene for the story makes all the difference in pulling the reader into the pages.

The setting was a 4-course sit down formal dinner right in the viewing gallery of the Aquarium’s star exhibit – a 7-8m high floor to ceiling fish tank.

My table

3. The story structure

As with all good children’s books, there has to be a beginning, middle and an end. Strong plot is key in moving the action forward. 

Menu (higher res)

The beginning of the evening kicked off with speeches from the VIPs. Book Council Chairperson Claire Chiang,  delivered an impeccable paragraph of greeting in Japanese which she had picked up only one week before. The Japanese Ambassador followed on to speak about the 50 years of friendship between Singapore and Japan.

Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Ministry of Foreign Affairs graced the event.

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The middle part of the story must have enough action to sustain the reader’s interest to the end.

We were treated to feast that whet our appetite on two levels:

– a 4-course sit down dinner, with the aquarium as our movie screen

– musical performances by a talented array of child performers.

4. Story Climax

All great stories must take the reader to a story climax.

For me, that was right after the 2nd course of the evening when the VIPs were invited on stage to touch an interactive screen.

As they did, two divers descended into full view from above with…. waterproof versions of the two books launched.

ST_20160528_NAJAPAN_2322659 (Straits Times photo of Benji, Yumi).jpgPhoto Credit: Straits Times 28 May 2016

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Our collaborative teams – Illustrator Dave Liew, Translator Cathy Hirano, Me, Illustrator Kazumi Wilds, Translator Yumiko Fukumoto & Adviser Naomi Kojima

This was the moment that my heart felt so full with unspeakable joy.

Following on, Resorts World announced the launch of Asia’s richest book award. Yes, all $30,000 of it!

ST News Article

5. Satisfying Ending

Good story endings must bring things to a close in a way that leaves the reader satisfied.

Renowned Japanese singers entertained us with well-known Japanese children’s songs that my Japanese illustrator grew up with.

Soprano-soloist Lauren Yeo showed us why she’s a child prodigy.

The fairytale evening came to a close, much like the final page of a delicious children’s read.

My table (comprising myself, illustrators, translator) stayed to savor the last moments.  We took final photos, chatted and lingered to the end.

6. The Final word

My final word as the author?

I could not have written anything better than how the evening’s story had unfolded. 🙂

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Meeting my illustrator Kazumi Wilds for the first time! together with translator Yumiko Fukumoto

 

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Our creative team with Book Council Chairperson Claire Chiang

 

 

 

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I’m delighted to be selected as Writer-in-Residence at Gardens by the Bay this year, thanks to the National Arts Council Gardens Residency Initiative.

In this Residency, I will be working on a new children’s book manuscript.

I’ve frequented Gardens by the Bay many times with Caleb since his toddler days. My most recent memories involve chasing after him and staying eagle-eyed as he takes off in increasing speed.

I’m sure I will take in more of the Gardens’ beauty and serenity when I am taking it in a more leisurely pace…like after I drop Caleb in kindergarten! 

I’m looking forward to starting this Residency soon as I know it is going to be walks in the park.

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Photo credit: Gardens By The Bay

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I recently had the pleasure of being on the judging panel for Flash Fiction Contest 2015 (Primary School category) together with lecturer and Gathering Books’ Founder Myra Garces Bacsal and Asia Storytelling Network’s Founder Rosemarie Somaiah ie. two dynamos in the literary scene here.

I’m glad to have been part of this excellent initiative by National Library Board and was very impressed with the shortlisted entries that came to us judges. Rosemarie, Myra and I came to a quick unanimous consensus on the three winning entries for their strength of story and voice:

Primary Category

1st Prize “It was Raining”  by Lien Cai Hui       

2nd Prize “Colour the Rain”  by Celeste Chong Hao Yee

3rd Prize “The Third Shot” by Tee Ying Xin

The winning entries can be read here.

NLB Flash Fiction

Congratulations to the winners who were honoured at the awards ceremony over the weekend and the 800 or so entries that came in for all categories in this Flash Fiction Contest.

I am heartened that we have in our midst a new generation who will wield mighty pens and fertile imaginations beyond being just known as a tuition nation!

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