Archive for the ‘Cultures and Countries’ Category

30th National Children’s Book Day ~ July 16th ~ Philippines!

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Tomorrow, July 16th, is the 30th National Children’s Book Day in the Philippines. Events will taking place tomorrow and throughout the remainder of July to celebrate this special day.national children's book day Highlights include:

paw_sm_MCPBBY (Philippine Board on Books for Young People) will be presenting the 2013  PBBY Alcala (Illustrator) and Salanga (Writer) Prizes  tomorrow at the Cultural Centre of the Philipinnes. Dominic Agsaway, an illustrator from Bulacan and a member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang InK) is the winner of the Alcala Prize with honorable mentions going to artists Sergio Bumatay III and Francin Cruz. Teacher Michael Jude C. Tumamac has won the Salanga Prize for his story, “Ngumiti si Andoy,” a story inspired by the life of Andres Bonifacio. Honorable mentions go to Mark Anthony Angeles and April Jade Biglaen. Learn more about these awards and the prize ceremony here. 

paw_sm3The Children’s Literature Association of the Philippines, Inc. (CLAPI) will be hosting a forum on Reading Beyond Borders to be held at the P. Gomez Elementary School Auditorium, Sta. Cruz Manila on July 16th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

In celebration of National Children’s Book Day and as part of UP LF’s 17th anniversary celebration week there will be a forum on children’s literature entitled Child’s Play on July 17th at the C.M. Recto Hall, Faculty Center. Find out more about the event here and more about the speakers here.

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Watch Tanghalang Pilipino’s musical adaptation of the children’s book Sandosenang Sapatos (A Dozen Pairs of Shoes) by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan! Sandosenang Sapatos, the Musical runs from July 13 to 21 at Tanghalang Huseng Batute in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For ticket information click here.

paw_sm3 On July 20th, PBBY in partnership with Adarna House and University of San Jose-Recoetos invites public and private school librarians to BASA! MGA KAPATID! A Free Seminar on Library Activities and Book Reviewing. Featured speakers are Zarah Gagatiga  and our favorite Filipina blogger Tarie Sabido who is also (woot! woot!) the incoming PBBY chair!!!

paw_sm_MCIn celebration of National Children’s Book Day, The University of the Philippines (Diliman) in cooperation with Save the Children Philippines presents Child Language, Language Independent: Book Playground for Education. This two day conference will take place July 25 and 26th and will feature selected speakers who will “discuss children’s book value in the promotion of advanced education and being critical of the language production of children’s books”. More details are here.

paw_sm3To find out about more National Children’s Day celebrations, do visit blogger extraordinaire, Tarie Sabido over at Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind. Tarie is always our go to gal for details on what’s happening in the world of Filipino kidlit and we were pleased to have her join us last year as Guest Blogger where she shared more about the world of Filipino kidlit with us  (read her guest posts by clicking here). She also featured prominently in our October 2009 PaperTigers issue Children’s literature from the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora.

free seminar National Children's Book Fay Philippines

Week-end book review: Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

BookCover

 

Anjali Banerjee, line drawing illustration by Ann Boyajian,
Seaglass Summer
Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 2010.

Ages: 9-12

In Anjali Banerjee’s chapter book, Seaglass Summer, an Indian-American eleven-year-old from Los Angeles, Poppy Ray, spends the summer with her uncle, a veterinarian on an island near Seattle, while her parents return to India on vacation. Poppy’s general exuberance and love of animals soon run afoul of her squeamishness at the all-too-real (and sometimes bloody) details of animal care as she tries to help out in her uncle’s Furry Friends Animal Clinic. She also faces the challenges of an unfamiliar rural environment and her first lengthy separation from her parents.

Uncle Sanjay alludes to early discrimination against him (for one thing, he had to complete veterinary school in the U.S. despite having already earned a veterinary degree in India), but Poppy’s summer reveals more cultural differences between L.A. and Puget Sound than between India and America. Poppy develops a close relationship with the endearing Sanjay, who always refers to her as “my dear niece,” and his irrepressible dog Stu. An eccentric cast of animal and human characters parade through the chapters, offering Poppy experiences ranging from a psychic reading to off-site emergency care for an injured dog. She suffers the disdain of one of Sanjay’s employees and the teasing of Hank, a 13-year-old also helping at the clinic, who boyishly grosses her out, then earns her friendship. Animals are born, recover from amputations, survive car accidents, and die in their owner’s arms.

Read the full review….

Malaysia Focus Guest Post – “Iban Dream” and “Grandma Lim’s Persimmons”: Two Book Launches at AFCC

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Peter Duke moderating Yusof Gajah's session at AFCC 2013Continuing our series of guest posts by author Peter Duke about the Malaysia-focused/perspective presentations at this year’s AFCC.

Peter has written a number of children’s books that have been published under the name Peter Worthington by the exciting Malaysian publisher Oyez!Books. Originally from the UK, Peter has lived and worked in different countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He first served in the British army and was global partner of a major management consultancy firm until his retirement.

 

IBAN DREAM by GOLDA MOWE – BOOK LAUNCH

Iban Dream by Golda Mowe (Monsoon Books, 2013)Golda teamed up with her publisher Monsoon to launch her new book Iban Dream. During her presentation she highlighted the more important parts of her book and demonstrated a thorough and deep knowledge of Iban myths and ancient practices, especially head hunting. She spoke with enthusiasm about her book and read out some thrilling extracts.

She recalled the era of the famed Borneo headman and described some details of hand-to-hand combat, the taking of heads and the preparation of them for display as trophies in the longhouse. She also brought out the importance of the head of a defeated warrior to the victor and to the longhouse to ward off evil spirits and raiding tribes, and bring good fortune.

When asked how she knew so much about the Iban customs and myths she replied, “Detailed research, especially old manuscripts written by colonial writers; and listening to my father’s tales that have been handed down since my grandfather’s generation. My mother is an Iban and my maternal great-grandfather was a warrior and a head hunter.”

Mind you, Golda, a nice somewhat retiring young author, does not look as if she is descended from a fearsome, heavily tattooed head hunter with his head dress of hornbill feathers!

 
GRANDMA LIM’S PERSIMMONS by SUNITA LAD BHAMRAY, illustrated by MARJORIE VAN HEERDEN – BOOK LAUNCH

Sunita Bhamray at the launch of Grandma Lim's Persimmon at Asian Festival of Asian Content (AFCC) 2013

Sunita Bhamray booksigning at the launch of Grandma Lim's Persimmon at Asian Festival of Asian Content (AFCC) 2013

Grandma Lim's Persimmons by Sunita Lad Bhamray, illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden (Oyez!Books, 2013)Sunita launched her book with the help of five youngsters all of whom were pupils at the school where she was a teacher until recently. The children each read a short passage from the book until the last and smallest of the team stood up. To widespread laughter, instead of reading, the little one calmly announced that to find out how the story ended the audience should buy the book. Sunita was fulsome in her praise for Marjorie van Heerden, her illustrator, who could not attend AFCC this year. Marjorie created great illustrations that carried the story forward. She also mentioned that it was only twelve months ago that she met her agent Linda Tan at the 2012 AFCC and how Linda had matched her story with Marjorie’s work.

The story came to Sunita one day when she watched her elderly neighbour tend her garden with such care and dedication. This is her second published children’s book. The story is very simple – a grandmother loves to grow persimmons in her garden and decides one day that she would give the best and brightest persimmon she had ever grown to her granddaughter. But before she can do that the persimmon disappears… To find out how the story ends the reader must purchase the book, as the little girl told us!

Malaysia Focus Guest Post – Yusof Gajah’s “My Life, My Art”

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Peter Duke moderating Yusof Gajah's session at AFCC 2013Continuing our series of guest posts by author Peter Duke about the Malaysia-focused/perspective presentations at this year’s AFCC.

Peter has written a number of children’s books that have been published under the name Peter Worthington by the exciting Malaysian publisher Oyez!Books. Originally from the UK, Peter has lived and worked in different countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He first served in the British army and was global partner of a major management consultancy firm until his retirement.

 

MY LIFE, MY ART
Yusof Gajah
Yusof Gajah at Asian Festival of Children's Content 2013

Yusof Gajah at Asian Festival of Children's Content 2013

 

Approximately 90 people attended Yusof’s session, where he wowed the audience with his humor and his disarming style that masks someone with great talent. He presented nearly 100 slides, many of which showed his brilliantly coloured art pieces. But this was not just a parade of his successes and his art since some of the struggles he has faced and his learning experiences were also covered. He praised those who had helped him on his way: his wife, who gave him strength and kept up his courage and belief in himself when things looked bleak; and Linda Tan Lingard, who gave him his break into the global world of children’s picture books when she helped him and his wife attend the Bologna Book Fair.

He told the audience about what went wrong and what he learnt; for example in his first picture book about a lizard he had an illustration of a mother lizard suckling her young not realising at the time that lizards lay eggs and abandon their young.

He also focused on his work with children, especially sick and handicapped children, demonstrating the human side of his character. He could make so much more money by focussing on creating paintings for corporate board rooms. But it is his humility and sense of giving that drives him to create children’s picture books with limited returns on his time compared with, say, a corporate board room masterpiece.

Finally, in answer to a question from the floor — “Do you think you will ever get bored painting elephants?”, his reply: “In Abu Dhabi recently at the book fair, I was asked if I would illustrate a book with camels.  My response was, of course — as long as you don’t  mind them looking like elephants”  That’s Yusof!

Congratulations Anu Kumar on your new middle grade book “A Chola Adventure” which is part of the Girls in India series being published by Penguin India!

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Anu KumarOne of the first people I met at the recent Asian Festival of Children’s Content held in Singapore was author Anu Kumar. Originally from India, Anu now lives in Singapore and writes for children as well as for older readers. Her short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies have been twice awarded by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and have been short-listed by The Little Magazine. Her third book for older readers  It Takes a Murder  was released last year following  Letters for Paul (Mapin 2006) and The Dollmakers’ Island (Gyaana, 2010) . You can learn more about her books for children and young adults here and do check out her website by clicking here.

Unfortunately Anu and I only had time for a brief chat at AFCC and our paths didn’t cross again. Although I would have loved to attended one of her sessions ( An Author’s Creative JourneyConceptualising and Writing Books for Series, and Writing Non-fiction for Early Teens) the times conflicted with the sessions that I was involved in. Hopefully we can meet again at the 2014 AFCC! In the meantime I will be tracking down a copy of her new book, A Chola Adventure,  which was just released last month. This book for for middle grade readers (9+) is published by Penguin Books India (Puffin imprint)  and is  part of their new Girls of India series which includes the books A Mauryan Adventure by  Subhadra Sen Gupta and A Harappan Adventure by Sunila Gupte.

A Chola Adventure

Sub title: Girls of India

A Chola Adventure by Anu Kumar, Penguin IndiaAuthor: Anu Kumar

990 CE, Tanjore, India Twelve-year-old Raji is growing up during the reign of Rajaraja Chola in the south of India. Raji is a girl of spirit- brave, bright and bold. She is also a dancer, a warrior and a sculptor who models kingdoms in stone. Raji, however, is not happy: She misses her family. Her mother is in exile and her father has left home in grief. On a dark night as a storm rages, Raji rescues a Chinese sailor at sea. This sets off a chain of events with unforeseen consequences. A Shiva statue goes missing, a prince disappears and there is a murder inside a temple. As Raji and her friends, the prince Rajendra Chola and his cousin, Ananta, try to help the Chinese mariner, they realize that he may have some of the answers Raji has been looking for. Will the criminals be brought to justice? Will Rajis family be reunited once again? Will peace be restored to the mighty Chola Kingdom?

For more details click here.

 

Malaysia Focus Guest Post – Linda Tan, Director of Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency, on Marketing Your Books and Selling Rights

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Peter Duke moderating Yusof Gajah's session at AFCC 2013Continuing our series of guest posts by author Peter Duke about the Malaysia-focused/perspective presentations at this year’s AFCC.

Peter has written a number of children’s books that have been published under the name Peter Worthington by the exciting Malaysian publisher Oyez!Books. Originally from the UK, Peter has lived and worked in different countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He first served in the British army and was global partner of a major management consultancy firm until his retirement.

 

MARKETING YOUR BOOK AND SELLING RIGHTS

Linda Tan Director of Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary AgencyLinda Tan Lingard at Asian Festival of Children's Content 2013

Linda addressed a packed room with a wide ranging professional presentation on what an agent can do for a writer with reference to her own agency and what it can do for writers in Asia. She also addressed the advantages of using an agency in obtaining international rights sales.

The most important aspects of an agent’s work include evaluation of a manuscript, matching these with a publisher and negotiating contracts, and where appropriate developing and executing a marketing plan. Authors are at the mercy of publishers and just sending their manuscripts seldom achieves their ambition of being published and the terms are often miserable. A good agent who knows the publishing world and has done his/her research into the types of books that sell can make a big difference to the prospects of an author and the monetary rewards.

Linda spent some time explaining the advantages of using an agent to sell rights and granting licences for translation and publication to international publishers. The most obvious advantages include the reduced cost of production, as printing and distribution costs etc. are borne by the foreign publisher. In addition, in some countries the government provides grants covering translation rights.

Agents spend considerable time and money travelling to international book fairs selling the rights of the books that are in their portfolio. They produce physical catalogues and rights guides and develop web sites promoting their portfolio to attract foreign buyers. Linda dealt with what publishers are looking for today – hot topics, local content, best sellers, big name authors and shorter books.

In closing she briefly mentioned the work of the Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency (Malaysia) in promoting the work of local authors and illustrators and representing their works on the international stage, selling rights and selling licences for merchandising rights.

Guest Post: Yusof Gajah, Naomi Kojima and Shirin Yim Bridge’s “First Look” session at AFCC

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Peter Duke moderating Yusof Gajah's session at AFCC 2013Continuing our series of guest posts by author Peter Duke about the Malaysia-focused/perspective presentations at this year’s AFCC.

Peter has written a number of children’s books that have been published under the name Peter Worthington by the exciting Malaysian publisher Oyez!Books. Originally from the UK, Peter has lived and worked in different countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He first served in the British army and was global partner of a major management consultancy firm until his retirement.

 

FIRST LOOK

Yusof Gajah, artist illustrator and author (Malaysia), Naomi Kojima, illustrator author (Japan), and Shirin Yim Bridges, publisher (US)

The panellists were presented with a packed room including many young people sitting on the floor, could they have been young hopeful illustrators? The objective of the session was for the panel to look at six illustrations from unpublished projects presented by a number of illustrators and to provide valuable pointers to the illustrators and the audience including the following.

Yusof looked at the technical aspects of creating illustrations for a picture book and the suitability and quality of the illustrations. He mentioned that illustrators should make sure their illustrations have depth and are not too cluttered. Illustrators need to practice, practice, practice with their chosen medium to get a satisfactory result. He also stressed the need for research into the subject to make sure the illustrator does not make mistakes with their characters, especially when using animals, fish or birds etc. He further commented on the need to create balance in a picture and that it is better if the illustrations are not always in the same plane.

Naomi who is an author and illustrator agreed with Yusof’s comments and added a number of additional ones.  She looked particularly at the illustrations to see if she could see the development of a story from them. It is important that illustrations for a child’s picture book must tell the story or support the story. One or two of the illustration sets were hard to follow and did not seem to be linked. She also stressed the importance of matching the expressions on the faces of the characters with the mood of the moment. So many illustrators today forget this point and produce standardised comic formats.

Shirin focussed on the suitability of the illustrations from a publisher’s perspective. She stressed the point that an illustrator should remember to provide white space for the designer to insert text wherever appropriate. She also mentioned that cluttered illustrations were hard to deal with and that illustrators should remember not to place their main focus/ character in the middle of the page when drawing as they lose a margin when the book is bound. The end result is the focus of off centre once the book is published. She also made the point that it was difficult to design a book that had a landscape cover with vertical illustrations.

Malaysia Focus Guest Post: Ain Maisarah’s “Pink Brand”

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Peter Duke moderating Yusof Gajah's session at AFCC 2013This is the first in a series of guest posts by author Peter Duke about the Malaysia-focused presentations at this year’s AFCC.

Peter has written a number of children’s books that have been published under the name Peter Worthington by the exciting Malaysian publisher Oyez!Books.  Originally from the UK, Peter has lived and worked in different countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He first served in the British army and was global partner of a major management consultancy firm until his retirement.

BRANDING AND MARKETING – THE PINK BRAND

Ain Maisarah (Sarah)

Ain Maisarah at AFCC 2013

Sarah appeared dressed in her trademark – pink, trendy, teen; with pink head scarf, trendy accessories and pink shoes to deliver a well-constructed presentation on the development and maintenance of her brand BLINK, which she and her husband consider to be their most valuable asset.

Sarah explained that it was due to the runaway success of her first book, ‘I Wanna be… Popular’ that she and her husband (and manager) decided to build on the success and create a series around the characters in the book. The stories in Sarah’s series follow the lives of a group of Wannababes, seven teenage girls; their relationships, their life experiences, their loves and hates as they grew up.

The Wannababe concept was extended to cover young adults across the range of 12 to 18 years including spin offs for tweens with stories based around famous children’s fairy tales. Their latest series follows the lives of the Wannababes now 27 years old. They are planning another series based around the Wannababe who are forty.

All titles in each of the series are identifiable as a ‘Wannababe’ brand by their covers with a pink background. They extended the pink brand to include the layout of their stands at book fairs, Sarah’s accessories, and the décor in their house.

Sarah explained that they had to develop a different brand when they extended the range to include books that boys might. The covers of the boys’ books are dark blue and they have developed a new brand – BLINK, a combination of blue and pink. Now their materials, furniture, décor on their booths, notepaper etc. are all in a combination of blue and pink.

All their early books were published and distributed by PTS, a large Malaysian publisher. Sarah praised PTS owners and staff for launching their Wannababe series. But in 2011 they formed their own company in partnership with PTS. This move gives them greater freedom in deciding what to publish but has created its own problems – distribution and sales are now their own responsibility. Over the past year or so Sarah has visited over 250 schools giving a short talk during assembly and then spending the rest of the morning selling and signing her books.

She explained that they do not believe in discounting but instead they provide add-ons such as a presentation box that holds eight titles and cute novels containing a short story following the theme of the book.

Sarah and her husband are now planning to translate the Wannababe titles into English and creating an e-book platform.

Candy Gourlay’s video of the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

candy Gourlay Tall Story ShineOne of my highlights at the recent Asian Festival of Children’s Content was finally getting to meet author Candy Gourlay! Her award winning, debut novel, Tall Story, was one of my favorite reads last year and when I saw that she would be presenting at the 2013 AFCC I was stoked! As it turned out we also both served on the 2013 Singtel Asian Picture Book Award judging panel and it was an absolute pleasure working with her. Candy is a lady of many talents with an infectious sense of humour. When you are around Candy make sure you have some kleenex to wipe the tears of laughter away! In addition to keeping us entertained about her life as author, Candy also shared with us about her obsessions with graphic design, the internet and social media, as well as her experiments with blogging, video and podcasting. Do check out her recently released video of the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content and head over here to visit her website and here to visit her blog Notes from the Slushpile.

paw_sm3Photo of Candy with her new novel Shine taken during the 2013 AFCC in Singapore. Shine will be released this coming Fall. The 5-CD audiobook of Tall Story has just been released by Listening Library in the United States! You can also download it on Audible.com.

Are you attending ALA 2013?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

ALA2013

 

Here’s an open invitation from author Alma Flor Ada, who would love to meet up with you at ALA, if you are attending.  She will be at a number of events so be sure to catch her:

 

Yes! We Are Latinos by Alma Flor Ada amd F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by David Diaz (Charlesbridge, 2013)Saturday, June 29

10:00-11:30 am
~ Charlesbrige Booth #1908
Signing her new book Yes! We Are Latinos, co-authored with F. Isabel Campoy and illustrated by David Diaz.

2:00 -3:00 pm
~ Lee & Low Booth #2305
signing her book ¡Quiero Ayudar!/Let me Help!, illustrated by Angela Domínguez.
Sunday, June 30

1:00 -2:00 pm – Book Buzz Theater (see all the Book Buzz Theater events here)
~ Room S104A McCormick Place, Convention Center
“Roots and Wings: Books for the Spanish/Bilingual and Latino Interest Reader” – Isabel Campoy will also be on the panel.

Quiero Ayudar/Let Me Help, by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Angela Domínguez (Children's Book Press, 2012)Monday, July 1

10:00-11:30 am
Poetry Blast at the Top Stage, Exhibit Floor
Alma and Isabel will be sharing extracts from Yes! We Are Latinos, followed by a book-signing session.

For anyone interested in diversity in children’s books, as well as the Diversity and Outreach Fair, a “must” session will be this one led by Lee & Low and Cinco Puntos Press – no doubt it will build on the recent on-line discussion following Lee & Low’s blog post “Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?”  I wish I could be there!

This year’s ALA Conference is the 120th – and it also marks the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott medal: so two great milestones!  And with their finger on the button, as ever, this year’s theme is “Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves.”  No doubt there will be some lively and informative discussions.  You can see some suggested highlights here, or look through the whole, immense program here.