Book Trailer: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Watch this beautiful, wonderful trailer for a beautiful, wonderful book - Tall Story by Candy Gourlay. Click here for my interview with Ms. Gourlay.

Wardah Books

Sunday, May 23, 2010

There's a lovely little bookstore called Wardah Books near the Sultan Mosque in Singapore. Wardah Books "is an independent bookstore specialising in Sufism and Islamic philosophy." They "carry a spectrum of titles ranging from children's books to Prophetic sirah and translations of the Qur'an; from history to the latest nasyeed."

I walked into Wardah Books and made a beeline for the children's books.

The store clerk was very nice and he helped me choose these titles:

The Best Eid Ever, written by Asma Mobin-Uddin and illustrated by Laura Jacobsen (Boyds Mills Press, 2007)
The Boy Without A Name, written by Idries Shah and illustrated by Mona Caron (Hoopoe Books, 2007)

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story, written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Chronicle Books, 2008)

Looking forward to visiting Wardah Books again next year!

New Crayons: The AFCC Edition

Monday, May 17, 2010
New Crayons is a meme started by Susan at Color Online, and it is about sharing the books one has bought, received, or borrowed over the past week. For my New Crayons post this week, I'll be listing the books I bought and received while in Singapore for the Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC). Watch out for my reviews of these books!

7 Science Fiction Stories (Scholastic India, 2006)

The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin and illustrated by Laura Jacobsen (Boyds Mills Press, 2007)

A Blue Cat's Tale by Sangeetha Madhavan and illustrated by Michelle Chang (Straits Times Press Children, 2008)

The Broken Tusk: Stories of the Hindu God Ganesha retold by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Maniam Selven (August House Publishers, 2005)

Anything But A Grabooberry by Anushka Ravishankar and Rathna Ramanathan (Tara Publishing, 2004)

Baby Panda Finds His Way by Emily Lim and illustrated by Li Dan (Autumn Wonders, 2009)

The Boy Without A Name
by Idries Shah and illustrated by Mona Caron (Hoopoe Books, 2007)

Bunny Finds the Right Stuff by Emily Lim and illustrated by Neal Sharp (Mustard Seed Books, 2009)

The Diary of Amos Lee: I Sit, I Write, I Flush! by Adeline Foo and illustrated by Stephanie Wong (Epigram, 2010)

Dots and Lines: A Teaching Resource for Art by Tarit Bhattacharjee (Tulika Publishers, 2008)

The Doughty Warriors: It's Our Forest Too! by Brenda Broster (B B Books, 2009)

The Elephant and the Tree written and illustrated by Jin Pyn Lee (Running Press Kids, 2009)

Five Plays for Children by Vijay Tendulkar and translated by Dr. Ajay Joshi (Scholastic India, 2008)

Georgette's Mooncakes by Adeline Foo and illustrated by Lee Kowling (Ethos Books, 2009)

Harry Straw Hat by Serene Wee and illustrated by Conrad Raquel (Scholastic Malaysia, 2009)

Harsha Vardhana
by Devika Rangachari (Scholastic India, 2009)

Hungry Ghosts by Sally Heinrich (Lothian Children's Books, 2007)

Jameela by Rukhsana Khan (Allen&Unwin, 2010)

Jeri Telstar and the Biggest Secret in the World
by Nury Vittachi and illustrated by Eamonn O'Boyle (PPP Company Limited, 2008)

Jeri Telstar and the Small Black Dog That Talked Like the President by Nury Vittachi and illustrated by Eamonn O'Boyle (PPP Company Limited, 2008)

Just Teddy by Emily Lim and illustrated by Neal Sharp (Mustard Seed Books, 2010)

Liquid City Volume One
edited by Sonny Liew (Image Comics, 2008)

Mahabharata Volume One: The Game by Soma Guha (Scholastic India, 2007)

Mahabharata Volume Two: The War by Soma Guha (Scholastic India, 2007)

The Mathematics of Twins by Sheila Dhir and illustrated by A. Edathatta and S. Onteddu (Scholastic India, 2007)

The Moustache Maharishi and Other Unlikely Stories (Scholastic India, 2007)

My Mother's Garden written and illustrated by Emila Yusof (OneRedFlower Press, 2010)

Naming Maya by Uma Krishnaswami (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004)

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan and illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Chronicle Books, 2008)

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy (Tulika Publishers, 2010)

Present by Serene Wee (Read Plus, 2009)

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear by Emily Lim and illustrated by Neal Sharp (Mustard Seed Books, 2010)

School Ahead! by Paro Anand (Scholastic India, 2006)

The Smart Little Ella by Djoko Hartanto and illustrated by Daud Budi Surya (PT Concept Media, 2009)

Style-O-Wot: A Girl's Guide to Looking Great by Sapna Bhavnani and illustrated by Anushka Anand (Scholastic India, 2009)

Superhero: The Fabulous Adventures of Rocket Kumar and Other Indian Superheroes (Scholastic India, 2007)

To Market! To Market! by Anushka Ravishankar and illustrated by Emanuele Scanziani (Tara Publishing, 2008)

Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and translated by Dorothy Britton (Kodansha International, 1999)

What Shall I Make? by Nandini Nayar and illustrated by Proiti Roy (Tulika Publishers, 2009)

Below are pictures of the official bookstore for the AFCC 2010, which is where I bought most of these books!

What new books did you buy, receive, or borrow this week? :o)

The Scholastic Asian Book Award

Friday, May 14, 2010
The National Book Development Council of Singapore and Scholastic Asia present the Scholastic Asian Book Award.

The objectives of the Scholastic Asian Book Award are:

* To recognize excellence in fiction in Asian stories for children
* To showcase the diversity of literary talent within Asia
* To encourage and inspire more Asian-themed books and stories

The Scholastic Asian Book Award will be given each year to an unpublished manuscript in English (original or translation), set in Asia and targeted at children ages 6 to 12, written by a writer in Asia or of Asian origin. The award-winning manuscript will get a prize of S$10,000 and a plaque, and will be considered by Scholastic Asia for publication. The first and second runners-up will each get a plaque and be offered advice by Scholastic Asia on editing their manuscripts to submit for publication.

Entries for the inaugural Scholastic Asian Book Award must be submitted by December 31, 2010 at 5 p.m., to the National Book Development Council of Singapore. The winners and runners-up will be declared in May 2011 at the Asian Festival of Children's Content.

Click here for more details on the award.

Day 4 of the Asian Festival of Children's Content

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
First things first: Please check out this Publishers Weekly article by the ever impressive Teri Tan. She gets right to the heart of the inaugural Asian Festival of Children's Content.


The last day of the festival was the Asian Parents Forum. I didn't attend the forum, as I am not yet a parent and I wanted a free day to go around Singapore before flying back to the Philippines. But for the curious, below is the list of events for the Asian Parents Forum:

Brainchild - how parents and teachers can enable children for the future via diverse aspects of the brain's artistry, virtuosity, and sense of play

5 Steps to Make Your Child Self-Confident - tips to help strengthen a child’s self-belief

Values-Based Coaching and Mentoring Through Storytelling - tips on raising children's self-esteem, techniques for giving advice that motivates children, and ways to inspire children to set and achieve their own high standards

Starting with the Parents: Using Books to Educate Children at Home - strategies using story, plot, and characters to communicate with children about moral, environmental, and gender issues

Multicultural Literature: Looking Out to Grow Within - why children need multicultural literature to see themselves as well as others in the books they read

How to Make Bed-Time Storytelling Fun and Why It Is So Important - how to select the right books for bed-time reading and how to make the stories come alive for children

Breaking the Silence: Coping With Bullying - the types of problems and solutions for the intervention and prevention of bullying

Understanding Your Child's Individual Learning Style: The Importance of a Positive Start to Reading - the three major styles of learning and how to identify a child's learning style

Asian Tapestry - a concert of music from Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Vietnam


Okay, I just cannot resist sharing some pictures of the food I ate while in Singapore:

Chili crab and cereal prawns...

A cold chrysanthemum tea drink...

Chicken rice...

Rice noodles in gravy...

A cold sour plum drink...

And sticky rice with mango...

Yummm. The food in Singapore was AMAZING.


I'll end this post with my favorite picture from the festival. This is a picture of me at the SCBWI dinner with Linda Tan Lingard, agent, publisher, and regional advisor of SCBWI Malaysia.

I love this picture!

Day 3 of the Asian Festival of Children's Content

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
On day 3 of the Asian Festival of Children's Content, I focused on all the events for the Asian Children's Publishers Symposium.

The first event was a panel presentation by Misako Ohnuki (a children's literature professor in Japan and the director of the culture division of the Asia/Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO), Sayoni Basu (publishing director at Scholastic India, and Mra Hninzi (a translator of French and English children's books in Myanmar).

Ms. Ohnuki explained the production scheme that the ACCU uses for Asian children's books and came to the conclusion that a new mechanism is needed for providing and distributing children's content in Asia (I agree). Ms. Basu explained all the children's book business opportunities in India. Ms. Hninzi ended the panel presentation with an interesting and detailed history of children's literature in Myanmar. I learned, for example, that children's books in Myanmar are didactic (even religious) and that is what is needed and desired in their market.

The second event I attended was a presentation by Teri Tan, an international correspondent for Publisher's Weekly. I was really inspired by Ms. Tan's engaging and well-researched presentation. I loved her positive attitude and her explanation of how to respond to the challenges of publishing children's books in Asia. She gave amazing insight into and very specific advice for opportunities in children's book publishing in China, Japan, and Korea.

Did you know that in China there is currently no market for picture books with abstract concepts? And did you know that new picture book and young adult titles in China should be series? The market in China is growing significantly!

Here are a couple of pictures of the participants of the Asian Children's Publishers Symposium. :o)

There was a business forum between industry players in India and Southeast Asia. Literary agent Mita Kapur and publishers Sayoni Basu and Radhika Menon discussed the children's and young adult book market in India. Karina Bolasco, founder of Anvil Publishing Inc. in the Philippines, gave some strong arguments for Asian countries trading with other Asian countries. If we rediscover Asia, we rediscover ourselves (individual Asian nations). But Asian countries trading with other Asian countries is not just literary, educational, and cultural advocacy. It is also a LUCRATIVE business. Furthermore, Asian publishers of children's and young adult books must CONSOLIDATE in order to export outside of Asia.

Risuan Aramcharoen, president of the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand and managing director of Plan for Kids Co., Ltd., introduced us to the reading habits of children in Thailand and the children's book industry in Thailand. Teri Tan, who is a real champion for international literature, talked about how writers, illustrators, and publishers try to break into the US market and regard it as the Holy Grail of publishing. We must not forget that there is a publishing gold mine right here in Asia! Ms. Tan gave a lot of other general information on the children's book industry and market in Asia. She is truly a fountain of knowledge.

There was a panel presentation featuring Lynette Thomas (a children's bookseller in Australia specializing in multicultural books), Nathalie Beau (creator of the first children's bookshop in France and president of the Children's Booksellers Association in France), Kathleen Ahrens (the international regional advisor of SCBWI), and Irene Ying-Yu Chen (assistant regional advisor of SCBWI Taiwan).

Ms. Thomas shared popular children's books in Australia with Asian characters, settings, or themes (like Samurai Kids by Sandy Fussell). The very lovely Ms. Beau gave the highlights of children's book publishing in France and shared slides of really beautiful French picture books. (Wow, those picture books from France are so stunning and sophisticated!) Ms. Ahrens and Ms. Chen gave very helpful and specific information on how to submit to children's book publishers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.

Dr. Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children's Technology Review, gave an inspiring and eye-opening talk on children's interactive publishing. He explained what made some technology for children fail and what made others succeed (both critically and commercially). And all throughout his talk it was clear just how much he really cared about children and their education and recreation.

After Dr. Buckleitner's talk, I was no longer hesitant about children's publishing utilizing new technology like the iPad. In fact, now I am really excited about new technology that can be used to tell stories to children!

The last event of the day was a lively and balanced forum between John Danalis (author and illustrator), Sharon Flindell (CEO of the peak body for the writing and publishing industry in Western Australian), Clive Newman (manager of sales, marketing, distribution, and foreign rights at Fremantle Press), Shamini Flint (author), Daphne Lee (children's book editor), and Fong Hoe Fang (founder of Ethos Books). (There was quite a bit of participation from the audience too.)

The panel discussed the business opportunities between Australian and Asian children's and young adult book writers and publishing houses. The remarks from most of the panelists were generally hopeful and optimistic, but it was tempered with reminders of the challenges of Asian books breaking into the Australian market and vice versa. (A good story is a good story is a good story, YES. However, discovering or drawing attention to good multicultural stories for children is difficult with all the competition out there. And unfortunately, bigotry still exists in the world.) I agree with the closing remarks of Mr. Newman though, "Keep working at it and it will change bit by bit." We can create win-win situations for Australian and Asian children's and young adult books. :o)

Day 3 of the festival gave me so much energy for working with Asian children's and young adult books!