Poetry Friday ~ Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So,

Friday, June 14th, 2013

It’s Poetry Friday and in honor of the recent launch of Project Splash! Asia (an annotated bibliography of water-themed stories from and about Asia), I thought that today it would be appropriate to highlight a poetry book about water! Here’s our review of Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So (Chronicle Books, 2012). For those of us with summer holidays just around the corner Water Sings Blue is the perfect picture book to bring on a trip to the beach. If your  young readers can’t wait for a trip to the beach, this book will take them there immediately in their imagination! Enjoy!

Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So,
Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
Chronicle Books, 2012.

Ages 4-11

The finely tuned observation in both the poetry and illustrations of Water Sings Blue draws young readers into that world of the shoreline where time just seems to disappear and exploration offers up endless possibilities for discovery.  Kate Coombs’ poems are satisfyingly memorable, with their cohesive patterns of meter and rhyme that, nevertheless, contain plenty of surprises – like, for example, the alliteration and internal rhyming at the end of “Sand’s Story”, in which mighty rocks have turned to sand:

Now we grind and we grumble,
humbled and grave,
at the touch of our breaker
and maker, the wave.

… Not to mention the witty pun on “breaker”: and the gentle wit of Coomb’s verse also lights the imagination throughout this collection.

Turning the pages, readers encounter a vast array of sea characters, starting in the air with the seagull; then listening to “What the Waves Say” before diving down to meet the creatures of the deep: like the shy octopus author (think ink…), or the beautiful but self-absorbed fish whose tail and fins act as brushes, and who concludes his/her soliloquy with the wonderfully evocative: “I’m a water artist. / You wouldn’t understand.”  As well as creatures like sharks and jellyfish, there are poems about fascinating, less well-known fish – “Oarfish”, “Gulper Eel” and “Nudibranch”: they could become a follow-up project by themselves!  There’s also a deep-sea shipwreck, and back on the sea shore, a gnarled “Old Driftwood” telling stories “to all the attentive / astonished twigs”, and a property agent hermit crab with a salesman’s patter.

Bringing all the poems together in a visual feast are Meilo So’s gorgeous watercolors.  As well as her depiction of jewel-colored corals and waves in every shade of blue imaginable, her illustrations are clearly also influenced by direct observation of the shoreline around her Shetland Isle home, from fishermen’s cottages to diving gannets.

Just like in real beachcombing, young readers will lose track of time as they pore over So’s seashores for what they can find.

paw_sm3Do read our recent interview with the illustrator of Water Sings Blue, Meilo So, here and see our gallery of her work here.

This week’s Kidlitosphere’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Reflections on the Teche – head on over…

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.

 

Not to be missed book launches at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content ~ May 25 – 30th, Singapore

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

AFCC logoWhile attending the 2011 Asian Festival of Children’s Content I met and spent time with three wonderful children/young adult authors: Chris Cheng from Australia, Dave Seow from Singapore and Jane Houng from Hong Kong. Interestingly enough, I ran into all 3 of them again at the 2012 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and am looking forward to seeing them all again next week at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content. Besides being involved with AFCC panel sessions and workshops, each of them will also be doing a book launch during the Festival. Each launch takes place at the AFCC venue, the National Library of Singapore, and you are more than welcome to come join in the celebrations. I know that I will be there!

paw_sm3Dave Seow, Sunday, May 26th 4:45pm

Emma’s Elephant ~ Emma has an elephant named Ella. She’s no ordinary elephant but an invisible elephant, but if Ella likes you, she’ll let you see her.

paw_sm3Jane Houng, Wednesday, May 29th 11:15am

Bloodswell is a young adult novel suitable for readers over the age of sixteen. Billed as “a fast-paced vampire saga infused with the sights, people and atmosphere of Hong Kong”, it’s a story of intense teenage friendships, dangerous secrets and forbidden love. Read Asian Review of Books’ review here.

paw_sm3Chris Cheng, Wednesday, May 29th 1:45pm (Project Splash! Asia launch) and 7:30pm (SCBWI dinner)

Water ~ 2013 is designated as the International Year of Water Cooperation. This book is a celebration of water and its importance to our existence. Illustrator Susanna Goho-Quek’s beautiful illustrations are created with acrylic, water colour and pen on paper, canvas and plastic sheet. All proceeds from the sale of this title—an original contribution to the Project Splash! Asia collection to be launched at AFCC2013—go towards furthering the mission of the Asian Festival of Children’s ContentProject Splash! Asia, is a first collection and bibliography of children’s books from Asia on a common theme—water. More information about Water and Project Splash! Asia is here.

launch

Part 2 ~ Project Splash! Asia to be unveiled next month at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore!

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

AFCC logoToday’s blog post on Project Splash! Asia is  Part 2 in a series. The article was originally posted on the AFCC website and has been reprinted here with permission of the festival organizer, The National Book Development Council of Singapore.

Message by Evelyn Wong, Partnership Director, AFCC
(Part 2 of 2. Read Part 1 here)

A collection of about 50 selected water themed books with Asian content will be exhibited at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content, AFCC2013, and the new titles will be donated to the National Library Board after the Festival. A review of the collection and bibliography of over 100 books will be published and launched together with the collection at the Festival. There will also be a special session during the Festival to share what we have learned from these stories. The bibliography, prepared in collaboration with the National Library, will be a resource for parents, teachers and libraries that will not only spark the imagination, creativity and pure joy of reading, but also inspire children to value the importance of water in our lives, to think about the challenges faced by children and families around the world, and to want to learn what we can do to make a difference.

When we shared the water-themed project we would be doing for AFCC2013 last year, the Singapore National Cooperative Federation (SNCF) welcomed us to join in a mass reading of “A Very Big Storm” written by Singapore children’s author Emily Lim, in celebration of International Year of the Cooperative Movement . The event, organised in collaboration with NTUC Seed Institute, NLB and 10,000 Fathers Reading, was a sight to behold and music to the ears! Coincidentally, water features in 3 of the 4 stories commissioned by SNCF to creatively and subtly teach children about the core values of the cooperative movement.

We were welcomed to contribute to the PUB Primary School Water Festival which aims to engage children in a fun way to treasure water and do their part to protect and conserve this precious resource, and collaborated with NLB to feature water-themed books. Children loved the story-telling session with “Little Otter Goes Fishing” by Emily Lim. Inspired by the children’s response, PUB’s H2O Competition this year will invite primary students to write their own stories, and we are looking forward to the winning stories and young Singapore writers.

Books drawn from Project Splash! Asia will provide a platform to engage students on the importance of water. We will also be linking to an online sustainability challenge created by Earthcheck and the Singapore Polytechnic that emphasises the practical aspects of sustainable conservation.

Besides the stories by Emily Lim, what will the collection and bibliography include? Will you and your children be interested in these stories? Do you like paper airplanes? Come join us at AFCC2013 for the launch of Project Splash! Asia, and let your imagination soar! Click here for the AFCC website!

Some titles that will be included in the Project Splash! Asia Collection of Children’s Picture Books

  

A Very Big Storm” and “Little Otter Goes Fishing” by award-winning Singaporean children’s author, Emily Lim

The Water Dragon – A Chinese Legend” retold in English and Chinese by Li Jian , the first book featured in PaperTigers online Illustrators Gallery from its Water theme Multicultural Children’s Books (click here to see the gallery and here to access the archived Water theme issue)

Wave” by internationally acclaimed Korean-American artist, Suzy Lee (click here to see PaperTigers’ gallery of her work)

Project Splash! Asia to be unveiled next month at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore!

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
AFCC logo

Today’s blog post on Project Splash! Asia was originally posted on the AFCC website and has been reprinted here with permission of the festival organizer, The National Book Development Council of Singapore.

This year will be the United Nations International Year of Water. Community and school programmes in many countries will include reading, performing and creating water-themed stories.

Project Splash Asia! aims to publish a bibliography and collection of favourite water-themed children’s stories from or about the region for AFCC 2013.

The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) hopes the compilation of a bibliography of children’s stories around a universal theme will be a regular project for AFCC to showcase the diversity of talents and children’s literature in the region.

Message by Evelyn Wong, Partnership Director, AFCC

I signed on for the inaugural Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) in Singapore in 2010, attracted by the red paper airplane flying across “Asian Content for the World’s Children”. I love paper airplanes, and I was curious where this one would take me. I was welcomed by an amazing gathering of people who treasured the joy of reading and its power to inspire and teach, and shared the dream to empower our children in Singapore, and around the world, by setting their imagination free. I have been attending AFCC every year since!

This Festival is the only programme of its kind in Asia, and probably the world, organised annually by the National Book Development Council of Singapore that brings together content creators and producers with parents, teachers, librarians and anyone interested in quality Asian content for children around the world.

One of the many unique features of the Festival is the four conferences, each for teachers, parents, writers and illustrators, and media professionals; and the Media Mart. It includes a wonderful collection of Asian picture books and books for young readers that you can browse through, buy, or add to your list of books to look for in the public library, and enjoy informal conversations about favourite books while you browse. A few of us thought it would be a great project to gather children’s picture books from across Asia on one common theme. The first picture and idea that splashed across our minds was WATER!

Water features in folklore, myths and legends that are part of our heritage in Asia. Water has played an important part in our history, culture. It is a most precious resource in our every day lives. Water is a universal theme that has inspired the imagination and creativity of children and adults alike for centuries everywhere in the world, and 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.

And so we embarked on Project Splash! Asia to collect children’s picture books with Asian content and water as a central theme. We discovered wonderful books in the National Library. Many AFCC partners and supporters contributed stories. The passionate women behind Gathering Books and PaperTigers blogs volunteered to help to gather titles and review the books… (to be continued tomorrow)

2013 is the International Year of Water.

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The United Nations has declared 2013 as the International Year of Water. Celebrations are planned around the world Water-thmed multicultural children's books(click here to see photos from World Water Day celebrations held March 22) and community and school programs  in many countries plan to celebrate the Year with reading, performing and creating water-themed stories. Here are some suggestions on children’s books that can be incorporated into International Year of Water celebrations:

water drop

Check out PaperTigers’ Jan/June 2012 issue The Theme of Water in Multicultural Children’s Books. Interviews, author galleries, personal view pieces and annotated reading lists all centered on multicultural picture books with water at their heart.

water drop Water-themed children’s stories will be highlighted at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content next month in Singapore under the banner Project Splash Asia!  PaperTigers is working with The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) and Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal to compile a bibliography of Asian themed children’s stories with water content. Stay tuned to the blog and I’ll talk more about this project tomorrow.

water drop Tulika Books has announced that their award-winning anthology, Water Stories From Around The World, is now available as a free downloadable e-book!

Also from Tulika is the news that Vinood Lal Heera Eshwer’s newest book Let’s Catch the Rain has been released. The message in this book may be simple but is powerful; rainwater is free, pure and precious – we must save it. Visit www.catchtherain.org to watch a film on rainwater harvesting and play a game based on the book.

water dropAlma Fullerton and Karen Patkau’s picture book A Good Trade has been receiving rave reviews since it was released in Canada in the Fall of 2012 and has been selected as a title for the  2013 White Ravens catelogue, a list of outstanding international books for children and young adults chosen annually by the International Youth Library in Munich.

In a small Ugandan village, Kato wakes early to start the long, barefoot trek beyond his village and along fields dotted with cattle and guarded by soldiers. His destination is the village well, where he will pump a day’s supply of water into two jerry cans. Like every day, Kato lets the water splash over his hot, tired feet before carrying his heavy load back home, where his chores await him. But this is no ordinary day. The aid-worker’s truck has come to the village square, and in the back is a gift so special, the little boy rushes home to look for something to repay the aid-worker.

Alma Fullerton’s spare, lilting prose tells a deceptively simple story of one day in a little boy’s life. But in a place ravaged by a generation of civil war and drought, a village well brings life, a gift of shoes is a cause for celebration, and a simple flower becomes an eloquent symbol of peace and gratitude.

WaterBridge Outreach, Water in Multicultural Children’s Books and Project Splash Asia!

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

As 2012 draws to a close and I reflect on our website themes over the past year, one of my favorites was The Theme of Water in Multicultural Children’s Books . We decided to do this focus in part because of the crucial role that water plays in our WaterBridge Outreach project (WBO) which provides donations of new multicultural children’s books to schools and libraries, while engaging with local communities to obtain access to clean water in areas of need throughout the world. In his recent PaperTigers 10th Anniversary article,  Executive Director Dr. Peter Coughlan wrote about the history of PaperTigers and how WBO came to be:

The most recent development in the PaperTigers story is – alongside the main site and the blog, which continue through from the second and third phases – WaterBridge Outreach, as summed up in the phrase Books+Water: Nourishing the Mind and Body. This springs from the desire firstly, to put books into the hands of children, especially in areas of need around the world – multicultural books that children can enjoy and that help open young minds and hearts to the world beyond their immediate experience. Secondly, I have been lecturing for some time at a college of the University of London in the area of applied ethics and, specifically, about the challenges facing our world at the nexus of water, food and energy in the context of climate change/global warming. Literacy and reading yes, but the lack of clean water and basic sanitation is a significant impediment to education, especially the education of girls, in too many parts of the world. Thinking about this led to the decision to expand our programs in 2009/2010 under the banner of PaperTigers: Books+Water, thus including not only the PaperTigers site and blog but also the practical WaterBridge Outreach programs – books and water here being specific expressions of the insight that education and the meeting of basic human needs must move forward together.

Since WBO’s inception we have been involved in various water projects in :

Matènwa Community Learning Center ~ Lagonav, Haiti

Tamilnadu ViIlage Outreach (TVO) Tuition Schools ~ Tamilnadu, India 

and Kiphire, Nagaland, India

As we move into 2013 we hope to further develop our projects in the above-mentioned areas as well as look at the possible development of similar projects in Guatemala and South Sudan, and work with Navajo and Hopi colleagues in education about water and water needs in Native American areas of Arizona. Dr. Coughlan will be going to Nagaland and Tamil Nadu in December this year to develop our projects, and our Outreach Coordinator Theresa Gee will be going to Arizona. Writers Gail Tsukiyama and Mary Roach will be joining Dr. Coughlan in India – the beginnings of an initiative that Gail hopes to develop as Writers for WaterBridge Outreach.

Exciting news for the coming year is that 2013 has been declared the United Nations International Year of the Water! The year will highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify issues on water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national/international legal frameworks, and more!  Community and school programs in many countries will include reading, performing and creating water-themed stories. Water-themed children’s stories will also be highlighted at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore under the banner Project Splash Asia!  PaperTigers is working with The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) and Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal to compile a bibliography of favourite water-themed children’s stories from or about the Asian region. If you have a title to suggest we would love to hear from you! Email me at corinne(at)papertigers(dot)org

2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content Project Splash Asia!

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

With our current PaperTigers issue focusing on the theme of Water in Multicultural Children’s Books and with water playing a crucial role in our Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach (read yesterday’s post to learn more), I was thrilled to learn that water-themed children’s stories will also be highlighted at next year’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore!

Project Splash Asia! AFCC 2013

Next year will be the United Nations International Year of Water.

Community and school programmes in many countries will include reading, performing and creating water-themed stories.

Share your favourite stories that have water as a theme, such as Wave by Suzy Lee (California US: Chronicle Books, 2008), Amansinaya-Goddess of the Sea, by Eugene Evasco and Jomike Tejido (illustrator) (Philippines: LG&M, 2007), The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson and Kazumi Wilds (illustrator) (California US: Shen’s Books, 2007), and Water Tales From Around the World (India: Tulika Publishers, 2010).

Project Splash Asia! aims to publish a bibliography and collection of favourite water-themed children’s stories from or about the region for AFCC 2013.

The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) hopes the compilation of a bibliography of children’s stories around a universal theme will be a regular project for AFCC to showcase the diversity of talents and children’s literature in the region.

For suggestions and enquiries, please email afcc@bookcouncil.sg.