Posts Tagged ‘The Learning Connection’

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of watching the final storytelling show for the Prince Bear & Pauper Bear show run. The Learning Connection, an edu-arts company, staged its two final interactive storytelling performances of Prince Bear & Pauper Bear at St. James’ Church Kindergarten.

SJCK Storybox.png

The 45-minute show marked the end of the Kindy’s K1 and K2 camp (and last day of this school term) based on the theme: Wonderful World of Stories.

The interactive nature of the performance was fun because the actors had the children on their feet and participating in certain segments of the show. A great format since 5-6 year olds don’t sit still for long!

Thank you to TLC for adapting this book for a second time in 4 years and SJCK for bringing this show into its premises for the kindergarten kids!


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This morning, I had the pleasure of catching Prince Bear & Pauper Bear‘s interactive storytelling show, which is running from now till next Thursday.  

I am thankful for valuable partnerships like The Learning Connection who has been supportive of my books and local writing.

Storybox theatre

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear is special because it is my first book and what started me on my writing path. Once upon a time, a local publisher told me that I would be lucky if I could even sell 1,000 copies of my picture book. This is unfortunately the reality of the market.

I thank God for His favour that today, Prince Bear & Pauper Bear has sold close to 15,000 copies and has been published in 4 languages. 

Writing is a solitary journey. The encouragement of readers is what helps me to plough on!

Related link:

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear take the stage with Storybox this April!

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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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I was invited to write an essay “Survival & Success as a Singapore Author” for One Big Story – Delving Deeper into Asian Children’s Literature, recently launched at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2014.

Following my earlier post on Survival Skills 1-3, I’m reproducing a condensed extract of Skills 4&5:

Picture Book launch Bunny Finds The Right stuff

4th picture book launch (2009)

Collecting shiny badges. Once my first book was published, I looked for overseas competitions to enter my first book to raise its marketing profile. Providentially, the Director of the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (the support organisation for people with my voice condition) emailed me about a competition which I qualified for. I wasn’t hopeful but entered anyway.

In 2008, Prince Bear & Pauper Bear became the first book in Southeast Asia to win a medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards (the world’s largest book awards competition) since the competition started in 1996. A few more shiny medals have come my way since  and helped in the marketing of my books.

Selling beyond bookshelves. Given that it was hard to sustain visible shelf space in bookstores, I explored other avenues to get my books out in the market. I tied up with a leading floral company to design floral arrangements around each of my books for sale as “book-quets”. I got my books into Toys R Us and a specialty teddy bear shop, on the basis of my books having toys and teddy bear themes.

And I forged strategic marketing partnerships.

AFCC Launch for Prince Bear & Pauper Bear Theatre Show

AFCC Launch for Prince Bear & Pauper Bear Theatre Show

The Learning Connection (TLC), an arts-integrated learning organisation, staged Prince Bear & Pauper Bear in 2013 as the first mobile children’s theatre show in Singapore. This 45-minute full theatre show travelled to preschools and we sold many books to schools that booked the shows.

I also linked up with JLB Educational Technology, which produces Pen Pal Whizz, a pen device with an MP3 player and recorder which ‘reads’ the books by tapping on the book pages as well as records vocal notes to help young readers improve their pronunciation.

Smart pen which reads my picture books

Smart pen which reads my picture books

I liked how the technology added an interactive layer to my titles whilst retaining the printed form. So, I wrote scripts for all the characters in my four titles and included story questions on every page – which JLB then recorded into audio files along with the story narration. These were configured with my printing files – so Pen Pal Whizz users have that added content with my paperback editions.

JLB sells my books alongside their educational products through direct sales to preschools and enrichment centres.

Next Up: Going beyond Borders and Other Mediums



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The Asian Festival of Children’s Content is back again come 25-30 May and every year, it just keeps getting bigger and better!

This year, I’m especially thrilled to be on the Festival Committee. As the new kid on the block, I’ve had a chance to see the programme come together and finally unveiled at the AFCC 2013 press conference this week. And there is so much to be excited about!

AFCC 20131) But first off, it started two weeks back with a radio interview I did with 938Live, where I shared about my panel session at AFCC – “Survival and Success as a Singaporean Author”. As I mentioned to Radio Journalist Howie Lim,  I would touch on success for a few seconds and the rest would be about survival!

That was a “truth in jest” statement because there is a lot of marketing work involved as an author which people don’t realise. When I congratulated Eliza Teoh, who will speak on that same panel,  for her success in making the bestseller list for her Ellie Belly books, she told me that she did no less than 50 talks in a year to get that result. And she is both author and self-publisher. Wow and wah! I did half that number over a longer stretch of time and tired out. Now, that is an energetic and driven author, who has since started her own publishing outfit Bubbly Books, and is now up there in the children’s books scene in Singapore.

2) Next, I was part of a judging panel for a new initiative called AFCC Publications which has published three bilingual picture books. I had a lively deliberation with fellow judges David Seow, a prolific children’s books author, and Myra Garces-Bacsal, Founder of the successful Gathering Books blog. The winning books will be launched at the AFCC.

3) During the year, I had the pleasure of seeing from the sidelines the coming together of Project Splash Asia!, pulled together by another very energetic lady Evelyn Wong, who is on the Board of Advisors for AFCC, working together with esteemed blogs Gathering Books and Paper Tigers.

Okay, I had nothing to do with it! But that the books that I wrote – A Very Big Storm and Little Otter Goes Fishing – were selected for the collection of water-themed stories and were also read at the PUB’s (Singapore’s National Water Agency) launch of the UN International Year of Water and the National Library Board’s 10,000 Fathers Read events.

At the press conference with Mr Ramachandran, Festival Founder and Stephanie Wong, Epigram Books

At the press conference with Mr Ramachandran, Festival Founder and Stephanie Wong, Epigram Books (Photo credit: Gathering Books)

4) I will also have the pleasure of seeing the theatre show for Prince Bear & Pauper Bear launched on Day 1 of this year’s AFCC as a free performance for the public. This is staged by theatre arts education specialist The Learning Connection.

And finally, back to the press conference and the man who started it all.

After dropping Caleb off to pre-nursery, I had a little quiet time with teh si (tea with less condensed milk), half-boiled eggs with soya sauce and otah toast at Toast Box. Then I headed to Hotel Grand Pacific to join in the excitement brimming at the AFCC press conference.

The literal diet just before the literary diet

The literal diet just before the literary diet

The shortlisted entries for this year’s Hedwig Anuar Book Awards and the inaugural Singtel Picture Book Competion are of such excellent calibre and had shortlisted illustrators from around the region and one from Iran. Mr Ramachandran, the Founder of the Festival, shared how much the Festival had grown. Unfortunately, my iphone did not capture the impressive growth statistics that he trotted out in his presentation. But, as Mr Rama says, you just need to register for the event to come experience the buzz.

This was followed by 3 panel discussions with representatives from each main tract of the Festival. Stephanie Wong from Epigram Books and I spoke for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference panel.

When it all wrapped up, I went away remembering that the AFCC, of which we can all play a part in either as speaker or participant, impacts the literary diet of 1.5 billion children in Asia. That is a statistic that my mummy brain did not need the iphone’s photographic memory for.

Post 58 DSC_0689Then, thanks to Mr Rama’s military timekeeping, I headed back, in good time, to my one child in that billion, whose diapers I change, milk I feed and books I read to.

Related Links:

I’m going to rub shoulders with big name publishers and authors over kids’ stuff

Rubbing shoulders with Harry Potter’s Editor, Poverty Porn & other Gems (Part 1)

Rubbing shoulders with Harry Potter’s Editor, a Twilight Moment & other Gems (Part 2)

AFCC Wire – Local Authors, International Audience




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