Wow. Day 2 of the Asian Festival of Children's Content was even better than day 1.
The first presentation I chose to attend featured Karina Bolasco, the founder of Anvil Publishing Inc. in the Philippines, and Clive Newman, manager of sales, marketing, distribution, and foreign rights at Fremantle Press in Australia. Ms. Bolasco gave an overview of the distribution and sales of children's books in the Philippines and raised the challenges of Asians selling their children's books to other Asians. (Books from the West are cheaper than books from the East because they have much larger print runs.) Mr. Newman explained the challenge of book distribution in Australia (because of geography) and his experience venturing into digital distribution.
Daphne Lee and Holly Thompson inspired us and showed us just how to create the best multicultural books for readers. Ms. Lee, a children's book editor in Malaysia, discussed the various definitions and objectives of multicultural literature (WHY we need multicultural literature).
(On that note, I have a problem with the definition of multicultural literature from the Cooperative Children's Book Center in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. And yes, Ms. Lee touched on this particular definition. The definition of the CCBC for multicultural literature is "books by and about people of color."
Really? So a book set in Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands featuring different characters from those countries isn't multicultural unless it features people of color? A book with Filipino characters written by a Filipino is automatically multicultural because Filipinos are people of color? Even if that book is only about one culture in the Philippines? Really?)
Ms. Thompson, an author and the regional advisor of SCBWI Japan, gave very valuable insight into the writing/creative process for a multicultural book.
Author and illustrator Naomi Kojima shared some of her favorite picture books and talked about their themes. She showed slides of beautiful and moving picture books. Ms. Kojima also shared details about picture books in Japan.
Author Murti Bunanta, PhD. gave a talk on the development and market opportunities in children's book publishing in Indonesia.
Children's books in Indonesia sound amazing. Some of them use three to four languages in one book. For example: Arabic, Indonesian, and English; Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and English.
After her talk, Dr. Bunanta launched her 49th (!) and 50th (!) children's books and Djoko Hartanto launched his picture book series Lovely Buddies.
They served Indonesian snacks! :o)
There was a panel discussion on how to get published. More golden nuggets from author Uma Krishnaswami: Ten questions a writer should ask himself or herself before submitting work to a publisher. Ms. Krishnaswami is truly amazing.
Author and editor Anushka Ravishankar talked about what editors look for in a manuscript. Holly Thompson gave a lot of specific and enlightening information on book advances, agents, contracts, and royalties. Author Paul Kooperman gave points on how to sustain a writing career and make it a business.
I felt privileged to attend a storytelling session with author Rukhsana Khan. She's lively, fun, and funny! She told the oral stories behind her three picture books Ruler of the Courtyard, Silly Chicken, and Big Red Lollipop. She also shared her creative process for the books.
I ended the day listening to Radhika Menon, founder of Tulika Books, a multilingual children's publishing house in India. Ms. Menon presented the many challenges and rewards of translation for picture books. It's like walking a tightrope!
I absolutely loved Ms. Menon's positive attitude toward the challenges of translation. She's fearless and determined to publish children's books that reflect Indian children's multilingual reality!
That's it for day 2, folks. I'll post about day 3 on Monday. :o)
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