Malaysia Focus Guest Post – Malaysia Night at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Peter Duke moderating Yusof Gajah's session at AFCC 2013Drawing to a close 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.

 

MALAYSIA NIGHT AT THE 2013 ASIAN FESTIVAL OF CHILDREN’S CONTENT

Malaysia Evening at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC)

Malaysia Evening at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) - students from Sekolah Seni Johor

Malaysia Evening at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) - students from Sekolah Seni Johor perform "The Proud Butterfly and the Strange Tree" adapted from the book by Jainal Amambing

Malaysia Evening at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) - students from Sekolah Seni Johor, the cast of

Malaysia Evening at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) - post performance by Sekolah Seni Johor students of "The Proud Butterfly and the Strange Tree"

Malaysia Evening at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) -HRH Raja Zarith Sofia of Johore is presented with a copy of "My Mother's Kitchen" by its creator Emila Yusof

During AFCC, Malaysian Book Organisation Kota Buku hosted an evening of Malaysian music, fun and food for more than 120 guests. As the guests assembled and moved to their seats the youth orchestra and singers from the Malaysian School of Art Sekolah Seni Johor entertained us with some excellent music and songs, both traditional and modern.

The guest of honour for the night was HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah, the Sultana of Johor. She and all the guests were made to feel very welcome by Tan Sri Dato’ Asiah Abu Samah, the chairman of Kota Buku. In her welcoming speech, Tan Sri also thanked AFCC for inviting Malaysia as the country of focus at AFCC 2103 and stated that she and all the members of the Malaysian delegation extended their heartfelt thanks to Ms Claire Chiang and Mr Ramachandran and their staff for making this possible. In addition, she said she hoped that this was the start of many years of close cooperation between Kota Buku and AFCC and the first step in a journey of bringing like-minded organisations from Asian countries together in close cooperation.

After Tan Sri’s speech, Emila Yusof of the Malaysian delegation, and this year’s Guest illustrator at AFCC, presented The Sultana with one of her iconic pictures and two of her latest books. Ain Maisarah, Malaysian author of the ‘Wannababe…’ series presented the Sultana with a set of her books. Then it was time for music food and fun. The tables groaned under masses of excellent Malaysian-style food including giant prawns, Nonya style curried chicken, beef rendang, fried rice, steamed vegetables and noodles followed by a typical Malaysian desert and fruits; a seemingly endless stream of food to suit all tastes.

Malaysia Focus Guest Post – IBBY President Ahmad Redza on “Celebrating Diversity Through Multicultural Children’s Literature”

Wednesday, July 17th, 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.

 

CELEBRATING DIVERSITY THROUGH MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Ahmad Redza

IBBY President Ahmad Redza at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC)

Ahmad Redza, who is currently the President of IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People), gave a very polished presentation on his chosen subject. He made the point a number of times of his firm belief that children and books together create a greater understanding of different races, cultures and religions.
He stressed that children are our future and by bridging the gap through literature we create a platform for peace. A well-illustrated picture book can be read and understood in any language. Literature serves as a powerful vehicle for helping children understand themselves, their communities and the world.

‘Children in crisis’ is an important IBBY project. The key thrust of this is to bring knowledge through books and literature to children who are recovering from trauma caused by earthquakes, rebellion, loss of citizenship and being separated from their parents and often being driven from their homes. Reading, and learning to read, can bring peace of mind and help in a child’s recovery. But just giving a child a book is not sufficient; he or she needs to be taught how to use a book to gain greatest benefit from them.

In conclusion Redza reiterated his belief that through literature, children can bridge the gap between races, religions and cultures across countries and make the world a better place for all.

Then, at the end of his talk Redza also gave a brief overview of IBBY and its roles and projects.

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!

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.

 

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.

2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content~ Bloggers’ posts

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Project Splash Asia launch

Project Splash! Asia launch~ May 29/13, AFCC, Singapore

We’re back from Singapore after attending the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content. Needless to say we had an absolutely amazing and inspiring time and we’ll be blogging about it over the upcoming weeks.  If you haven’t already visited our Facebook page, do take a moment and head on over as we uploaded quite a few photos from the festival there. Also, check out the AFCC Wire which is compiling a list of bloggers’ posts about the 2013 festival and be sure to to visit the wonderful Gathering Books blog to read Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal’s posts. Take special note of Myra’s Project Splash! Asia post which is near and dear to our own hearts as PaperTigers was blessed to be involved on the organizing committee.

 

First photo from the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

I’ve arrived in Singapore and look forward to attending the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content! Here’s my first photo from the Festival:  some of the goodies I received in my registration bag when I checked in at the hotel.

Singapore registration goodies

In order to maximize my time at the Festival and minimize time spent in the hotel room on the computer, I’ll be mostly updating and uploading photos to our PaperTigers: Books + Water facebook page. If you are on Facebook, do give us a like and follow along. If you don’t have a Facebook account don’t despair as you can still read our posts by clicking here.

And do keep your fingers crossed for PaperTigers Editor Marjorie Coughlan whose flight from London to Singapore has been delayed for over 24 hours now. Expected arrival time is late this evening which doesn’t give her much time to settle in before her sessions tomorrow!

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content we go!

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Our bags are packed and both Marj and I are currently en route to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content taking place May 25 – 30 in Singapore. We’ll have to sleep during the flights because once we hit the ground in Singapore there will be no time for jet lag! The program is jam packed with events to attend, people to meet up with and more! Marj and I will also be participating in the following sessions:

 paw_sm3Asian Themes in Children’s Books ~ Daphne Lee (Author, Reviewer), Marjorie Coughlan (Reviewer), Anushka Ravishankar (Author), Moderator: Lisa Yun (Educator)

 Will including Asian themes alienate your audience? Why bother, if that’s the case? Join this panel of Asian creators as they discuss the use and application of Asian themes and motifs in children’s books.

paw_sm3The Current State and Future Possibilities of Asian-Themed Publishing in the US ~ Renee Ting (Publisher), Moderator: Marjorie Coughlan (Reviewer)

 Join Shen’s Books publisher Renee Ting as she talks about the current state of publishing in the USA, what kind of a market currently exists for Asian books, and what she foresees for the future. Find out if your books can be sold in the USA!

paw_sm3The Fine Art of Reviewing Children’s Books ~ Marjorie Coughlan (Reviewer)

Presentation and workshop. What makes a good book? What makes a good review? The components of a book review, choosing books to review, writing a review for publication and more!

paw_sm3Fostering Relationships within the Blogging Community ~ Vivian Kirkfield (Blogger, Educator, Author), Marjorie Coughlan (Reviewer), Michelle Chew (Blogger, Reviewer), Moderator: Aun Koh

A lot of myths maintain you can’t make real friends on the Internet, but you know better by now. Join Michelle Chew, Vivian Kirkfield, and Marjorie Coughlan as they talk about building and growing communities and relationships online.

Transforming Facts ipaw_sm3nto Riveting Reading ~ Chris Cheng (Author), Shirin Yim Bridges (Author, Publisher), Mio Debnam (Author, Editor),  Moderator: Corinne Robson (Reviewer, Blogger)

While fiction looks like it has a flashier bag of tricks for enticing readers, there’s a knack to writing non-fiction that can lure kids into enjoying what could otherwise be a dry and dull read. Authors Chris Cheng, Mio Debnam and Shirin Yim Bridges come together to talk about how they turn dry fact into happy reading in this panel discussion.

paw_sm3Splash! Asia session: Water Themed Books in the Asian Setting ~ Evelyn Wong, Myra Garces Bacsal (Educator, Reviewer, Blogger) , Moderator: Corinne Robson (Reviewer, Blogger)

In celebration of the UN International Year of Water, AFCC 2013 presents this session on the use of water in Asian books. Join Evelyn Wong and Myra Garces Bacsal as they showcase the diversity and talent in Asian children’s literature on the theme of water.

paw_sm3

2013 Singtel Asian Picture Book Award ~The SingTel Asian Picture Book Award will be presented annually for an outstanding unpublished picture book with a distinctly Asian theme. The first SingTel Asian Picture Book Award will be presented  during the Asian Festival of Children’s Content on 28 May 2013.

Full programme and festival details are available online here.

If you are going to be in Singapore, be sure to let us know as we would love to meet up with you. If you can’t be there, keep an eye here on our PaperTigers’ blog as we will be posting regularly to share some of our highlights with you!