Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SCBWI SG _____ The art of making your own Quick Kiddy Comic, so many ways to do this, just have fun

NOTE: This post is part of my series about the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (Singapore chapter). Read all the posts here.

Three weeks back, we introduced our fun Quick Kiddy Comic activity. This was our very first SCBWI SG open collaboration project. Basically you download this PDF worksheet (here), and you create a 5-panel comic strip featuring your own characters. Thanks to everyone who participated! And our partner StoryCode SG too, for behind-the-scenes input. I’m thrilled to share these submitted works below. Pure creative joy, all of them. Do look out for our next open activity, later this year. If you haven’t tried writing and drawing your own Quick Kiddy Comic, just head over here and give it a shot. Once you have your own original series going, you can try submitting your work to Singapore publishers, using their contact info here. Have fun always! :)

— D

* based on this worksheet (PDF)

Click on images for full size:

Eirliani A Rahman, adventurer and child rights activist. Instagram

Christian Soh, student, used Storyjumper

Bianca Wee, student

Bianca Wee, student

Sofie Yang, student

Faisal Siddiqui, student, Artistic Strategies Academy

Faisal Ishola, student, Artistic Strategies Academy

Iqmal, student, Artistic Strategies Academy

Mun Ying Lau, lecturer


Meet David Liew, the current SCBWI SG regional advisor

Introduction to 20 SCBWI SG members

How to use social media to connect with readers

. . . . . . . . .

Popular Readers’ Choice Awards 2017

Vote for our book Superkicks: Time to Play, 
and win a $50 Popular Voucher. 
Ends 5 November 2017. 
Note: Singapore only

SUPERKICKS series published by Marshall Cavendish

My Blade Quest
thrilling adventure series for young readers
4 books so far

Brought to you by Armour Publishing

Sunday, October 8, 2017

SCBWI SG _____ The Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2018 says: authors and illustrators, get ready for more speed dating

NOTE: This post is part of my SCBWI SG coverage. We're the local chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Read about our Singapore group here.

I’ve been attending the Asian Festival of Children’s Content for three years now. Blog posts for proof: 2015, 2016 and 2017. It’s always been held in May. But not next year. In 2018, it’ll happen in September instead. Oooh! Shaking things up.

You might think that September 2018 is almost a year away. But many authors and illustrators have already been busy about this. We’ve had to submit programme proposals, you see. The deadline was back in September 2017.

From past experience, there’s always too much to explore at the AFCC. And too little time to do it all. So it helps if you get familiar with what’s happening in advance. This lets you make arrangements to meet people, attend book launches, catch specific sessions, and have long dinners with fellow content creators at the end of each day.

To get you started early, here’s an interview with Kenneth Quek from the AFCC organising committee. He introduces next year's Country of Focus, explains what sessions you can expect, shares their social media plan leading up the event, and also highlights how their speed dating format at the last AFCC was effective in getting writers and illustrators more exposure. So prepare for more speed dating. Do brush up on your skills, if you can.

Kenneth also used to be the Regional Advisor for SCBWI SG. If you have any suggestions or requests for AFCC 2018, feel free to reach out over social media or email.

Thanks to Kenneth and team for this interview, and also supplying the photos.

— D

This is Kenneth. Besides books, he also likes balloons.


Greetings! Do introduce yourself.
I’m Kenneth and I’ve been working at the Book Council since 2011, first as the AFCC Festival Manager, then as the Festival Director.

How will AFCC 2018 be different?
In 2018, the Country of Focus (COF) at AFCC will be Singapore. Since we began the COF at AFCC 2012, we’ve gone all around Asia, featuring the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan, and Indonesia, and with the Book Council celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2018, and with the growth in children’s books and content in Singapore over the last five, ten years, we thought it was the right time to feature Singapore.

Something we tried this year that will be expanded next year, is speed dating for authors and illustrators with teachers. We’ve tried networking sessions in the past, but the speed dating format puts everyone in a different frame of mind and is more effective than trying to make connections in a social setting. (We will still have a relaxed evening for people to mingle and chat.)

We continue to develop our existing conferences within AFCC for writers, illustrators, digital media, teachers and parents, as well as present awards to highlight both local and Asian talent.

What are some new challenges in the world of children's content today, and how will AFCC 2018 help writers, illustrators and publishers in these areas?
I think that essentially the main challenge in children’s content remains the same, and that is how do authors and illustrators reach their audience? What is different today compared to even ten years ago is that there are so many avenues for this to happen, and I think that sometimes this is daunting for the content creators. AFCC is here to help you navigate that, we try and show you all that ways that it can happen - each has its own challenges and rewards, and we try to present that also.

In terms of developing creative skills, AFCC will also continue to provide workshops and masterclasses for writers and illustrators who want continue improving their talent.

The AFCC team

How are you using social media to connect the AFCC community? 
We actively maintain an AFCC Facebook page, and an Instagram account too. Writers and Illustrators should look out for calls for submissions either for competitions or for submissions including AFCCSketch, Book Illustrators Gallery, First Pages, First Look, Speed Pitching, Portfolio Reviews. Since AFCC will now take place in September, most of these calls will happen from around March next year.



Meet David Liew, the current SCBWI SG regional advisor

Learn to make a Quick Kiddy Comic: write and illustrate your own short story for kids

How to use social media to connect with readers

. . . . . . . . . .

Popular Readers’ Choice Awards 2017

Vote for Superkicks: Time to Play, and win 
a $50 Popular Voucher. Ends 5 November 2017. 
Note: Singapore only

SUPERKICKS series published by Marshall Cavendish

My Blade Quest
thrilling adventure series for young readers
4 books so far

Brought to you by Armour Publishing

Monday, September 25, 2017

SUPERKICKS _____ Big updates: vote for our book Time to Play + take the exciting Superkicks School Tour to your school in 2018 + dropping a little hint about the Inter-school Superkicks Cup (shhh!)

NOTE: This post is about my Superkicks book series, co-authored with educator and character development mentor Benedict Boo.

The Popular Readers’ Choice Awards are here again! For the past two years, books from my Lion City Adventures series made the shortlist. We even won two prizes the first time around, thanks to all the support from our readers. That was exciting indeed. Read about it here. This year though, it’s our Superkicks series that’s in the running, and you can vote for the first book of the series, Time to Play.

This Superkicks series is special in so many ways. It was our first collaboration with another author, Benedict Boo. And what a truly rewarding experience it has turned out to be. The series also features super-awesome illustrations, both on the cover as well as the inside pages. Young readers are always delighted to see them. Here's an interview with our talented illustrators.

And then there’s the Superkicks School Tour, which started last year and has grown more ambitious along the way. Our mission is to visit the schools, interact with young readers, sign books, and also share with girls and boys the joys of reading and the values of sportsmanship. Scroll down and you’ll find a special interview with Benedict Boo about this. He also reveals some exciting developments for next year! (More details to come.)

Back to the Popular Readers’ Choice Awards: you can vote for Superkicks: Time to Play, and perhaps win a $50 Popular Voucher as well as a 1-year Popular membership card. No registration or purchase required. It’s easy enough that you can even complete and submit your entry on your phone. Here's the link to vote now. Ends 5 November 2017.

We’re already working on Book 3 of the Superkicks series. This will be published early next year. It’s a great thrill, as you can imagine. Come to one of our talks, and we’ll be happy to tell you more.

Happy reading! :)

— D


Tell us, what's a typical Superkicks school talk like? 
A typical school talk happens during a morning or afternoon assembly session. I address the whole school and deliver a presentation that is related to the values that we espouse in the Superkicks stories. Such assembly talks are typically followed by a meet-and-greet session during their recess period, when we set up a counter at the canteen to sell and sign autographs for the children. I really love these sessions as they give the children a chance to interact directly with a local author. Not many children in Singapore have this opportunity, and it really helps them appreciate reading, writing and creativity a lot more.

How do you prepare for each school talk?
I prepare for these talks by thinking about the audience, especially their interests and their needs. For example, when I go to all-girls' schools, I'll pull back a little on the technical bits on football, and try to mention other sports like netball and perhaps even dance. When I visit a school near exam time, I'll emphasise the writing and language skills aspects.

What are some interesting encounters during these sessions?
Believe me, it’s always very interesting and unpredictable. At my book selling and signing counter at schools, the pupils in the queue are often a diverse mix of enthusiastic girls and boys. An onlooker would probably never guess that they were queueing up to buy football-themed books!

At one all-boys' school, I was told that the pupils are really boisterous. When I was introduced, they laughed, and I thought to myself that this was going to be one tough session! But as the talk got along, I could tell the boys were leaning forward, listening intently. Their eyes were staring at me and you could literally hear a pin drop! I was completely taken aback by how absorbed they were.

Another interesting encounter was that one afternoon, this elderly grandmother turned up at my counter. She had been walking hurriedly. She said, "I’m so glad I caught you. My granddaughter asked me to come buy your book for her." I was so touched to see how this grandma was really committed to helping her granddaughter enjoy reading and grow her personal book collection. Encounters like this really inspire me.

How does the Superkicks football angle create new learning opportunities?
Many students can’t sit still at talks, and think of these as a lecture of sorts. But when I go at it from a sports angle, they sit up and listen, and on average about 80% of the primary school students will put up their hands when I ask if they like sports. So we connect better. Also, the format of our talk is such that it doesn't feel like a lecture at all, as I get kids to come up on stage, or I get them to try out a physical activity from where they are. These really help to sustain their attention and drive across our deeper learning points about character building and sportsmanship values.

What are the future plans for the Superkicks School Tour? 
First up, we are looking at bringing the Superkicks School Tour to more schools across Singapore, and possibly adding some mini-contests to the book selling and signing sessions. Very excitingly, we are also in talks now to host the inaugural Inter-school Superkicks Cup! It will probably happen in March 2018 and may be an invite-only competition. Details should be released really soon! So quick, do contact us to make a booking for the Superkicks School Tour. It’s free, and the students will remember the experience for a long time.

To invite the Superkicks School Tour to your school, or if you have any questions, just send us an email at studio@supercoolbooks.com.

. . . . . . . . . .

Popular Readers’ Choice Awards 2017

Vote for Superkicks: Time to Play, and win 
a $50 Popular Voucher. Ends 5 November 2017.


Join the adventure!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

SCBWI SG _____ How to make your Quick Kiddy Comic: this is our open creative collaboration project for 2017, join the fun

NOTE: This is part of my series to introduce the Singapore chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. We featured Regional Advisor David Liew here, and explained how to submit your children’s book manuscripts to the main publishers in Singapore here.

Now it's time to launch our open creative collaboration project for 2017. You’ll get to make a quick and simple comic story for kids. Just follow the steps below, and email a photo of your strip to us at studio@SuperCoolBooks.com. Include your name, contact email, and a link to one of your social media pages.

We’ll feature your story online and share it with the wider kidlit community. And once you have a few of these stories completed, you can compile them and submit to a suitable publisher here.

This is open to SCBWI members everywhere, as well as anyone else interested in making stories for children. Closing date is 6 October 2017. So get it to us before then.

Looking forward to all your fun creations! :)

— D

. . . . . . . . . .

How to make your Quick Kiddy Comic
(and maybe get a book deal)

by Don Bosco / @SuperCoolBooks
for SCBWI SG & StoryCode SG

Open creative collaboration project for 2017. Have fun! :)

Download the steps here (PDF, Google Docs)

What you need
Pen, notebook, tablet or phone for taking a photo of your finished story and sharing this on social media. Also: drink or snack. Nice music. Settle down and enjoy!

Create characters
Kids love reading about superheroes, pets, aliens, curious kids. So just doodle. Want a cuddly effect? Draw curves. To look tougher, use boxy shapes. Add a signature prop. Hat, big buttons, boots, etc.

Tell your story 
Six panels. Few words. You can create lots of stories with this simple format:
— Panel #1 has your title
— #2: Character A having fun
— #3: a surprise
— #4: hey, Character B is responsible
—  #5: A responds in an exaggerated way. Reveals A's true personality, secret talent or odd motive.
— #6: Punch line or funny outcome

Share this all over
Snap a photo of your story and share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, your blog, email, etc. Add hashtags so more people will see it: #SCBWIsg #kidlit #kidlitart #StoryCodeSG #100WRITERS. Create more stories featuring the same characters. Compile and contact a publisher. Ta-dah! You're awesome.

Closing date is 6 October 2017.
Email your photos to: studio@SuperCoolBooks.com

Download the steps here (PDF, Google Docs)


Fact: Anyone can join the international Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and participate in our local chapter activities. Here's what you need to know

How and where you can submit your children’s book manuscript to publishers in Singapore

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How you can use social media to connect with readers
From my talk "How Social Media Turned Me 
Into #KidLitDaddy" at the Asian Festival of 
Children’s Content 2017

Lion City Adventures Fan Club