Thursday, December 28, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Everyone thinks it's easy to write a children's picture book. I mean it's only between 600 to 1000 words, so how hard can it be? Wrong. With picture books, pacing, plot and word choice is paramount. You've got to engage your audience. With any bilingual book, the author has to be very careful with their word choice; in fact, an author has to be careful with word choice with any book that he/she writes. It is very difficult!
The National Book Council Development Council of Singapore has been trying to promote the children's literary scene here for some time. To that end, they decided to publish bilingual books in conjunction with the annual Asian Festival of Children's Content. As I am an author, I will be focusing on the books that were written by the Singaporean authors or Singapore based authors for this blog.
Japan was the AFCC's country of Focus in 2016, so a Singaporean author was paired up with a Japanese illustrator. Multiple award-winning best-selling author Emily Lim was chosen to write the first AFCC bilingual book. Emily's published around 30 books and sold her book rights overseas to Korea and Europe, so she was an ideal choice to wrote this inaugural bilingual book - Benji, Yumi, Origami! From the title alone, the reader can already tell that the book features Japanese origami.
The story starts with Benji receiving a package from his new neighbor, Yumi - An origami set. Benji quickly sets out trying to make paper animals that, unfortunately, do not turn out as he had hoped. Lim has fun with her play on words. "The poor insects really bugged Benji. He sent them flying across the table."
When Benji finally meets Yumi, he expresses his frustration at not being able to make very good origami animals. So while both their mothers busy themselves preparing a tea of Japanese cheesecake and Singaporean pineapple tarts. Yumi puts a positive spin on Benji's less than perfect Origami animals.
The author deftly weaves cross-cultural elements into this charming and heart-warming universal story of encouragement, fun, and friendship. The illustrations are delightful and the English and Japanese text placement make for easy reading.
Benji, Yumi, Origami! is available at all major bookstores.v
Monday, November 27, 2017
Friday, November 24, 2017
Another year has passed, and hopefully, I'm just a wee bit wiser. My birthday falls within a week of Thanksgiving so I might add this post is about giving thanks and gratitude.
I'm thankful for God putting up with me and be patient with me as I try to find my way through the daily journey that is life.
I am thankful for my family's constant and unwavering support. I'm grateful for each and every one of them and I should show it more. I am thankful for my few friends, both old and new (You know who you are) who have been there for me, through good times and the bad, especially the bad.
I am thankful that I have a publisher who's been willing to publish me, even though I've been on a self-imposed publishing sabbatical for personal reasons. I'm thankful for my editors and publishers who have put up with my unique creative process. I've been inspirationally constipated for the longest time.
Now, some people perceive what gratefulness means in terms of friendship. Gratefulness and gratitude towards one's family and friends is a state of mind. It's about mutual respect, kindness, thoughtfulness, and consideration.
Gratefulness does not necessarily mean paying back favors though, naturally, one would want to do everything and anything to help a true friend and vice versa; it does not mean tit for tat, or I do this for you, so you should do that for me - That is no measure of gratefulness or of friendship. Gratitude or gratefulness means listening, even though what you may not agree with what is being said. It means you give the other party a chance to speak rather than dismissing them thoughtlessly. It means admitting one's mistakes (no one is ever 100% right all of the time). It means wanting to do all you can to help whenever and where ever help is needed, no questions asked.
Gratitude towards others means appreciating people for who they are, not judging them or thinking one is always right when no one is right all the time. Gratitude is not about disparaging or mocking another person. Gratitude is about appreciating the people in your life, not taking them for granted and not taking advantage of them.
One can even have gratitude for those who have hurt oneself, Be grateful for the lessons they have taught you. It does not matter if they don't have any remorse or guilt, forgive them anyway. They've given you an invaluable lesson.
So this Thanksgiving, I am grateful to God, (Should make more of a concerted effort to put Him first), family, friends, and everyone who has ever taught me something.