Friday, June 12, 2015

BOOK LAUNCH: Thanks for sharing our LION CITY ADVENTURES, more to come

Why does anyone write a book for children? What’s the point of creating stories, and making pictures to go along with them? What happens when you’re finally done, and the book is all ready?

We spent a few months putting together LION CITY ADVENTURES, our new series that’s published with Marshall Cavendish. We started talking about it around November last year, worked out a prototype in January, and then everyone got completely engaged in the creative process of completing the stories, producing the illustrations, and designing the pages. Until around April this year, when the book was finally completed. (Read more about it here.)

This is Norman, an active member of the Lion City Adventuring Club.
He wrote a nice speech to introduce me. 

Last Saturday, we had a special book launch party at Kinokuniya Jurong Branch. We showed our brave new book to young readers and their parents, and invited them all to join the Lion City Adventuring Club. Working on the ten chapters in this book really helped us appreciate the history, people and culture of the Lion City in new ways. When you read it for yourself, we hope that you’ll feel the magic too.

There were so many things I wanted to say at the launch, but I only had time to share a few thoughts. It was important that the stories in this book showed kids that girls and boys were equally capable of solving mysteries, being creative, and serving as leaders. Also, there’s an old legend about how a prince visited this island hundreds of years ago, and the first creature he saw was a lion. This was an auspicious sign and inspired him to name this place “Lion City”, or Singapura. In more recent times, though, zoologists have pointed out that all this was unlikely, as there couldn’t have been any wild lions in the region. Still, it’s a great tale, and it has drawn so many generations of settlers to this island. This prosperous country still retains the name! That’s how powerful a story can be.

Uncle Melvin, Deputy Chief Adventurer, conducting the Kampong Glam Race maze contest.

I’m also incredibly inspired by the Mint Museum of Toys, the last destination covered in this book. This amazing place was created by a lifelong toy collector who had so much passion for his hobby that it motivated him to share it with the rest of us in such a generous way. It’s a fantastic lesson for the Lion City Adventuring Club. Believe in your dreams, and aspire to create a better world.  

We gave out these lovely Lion City Adventuring Club badges at the launch. And this little fanzine too. Uncle Amir’s Foldable Fun Newsletter. Inside you’ll find fun activities like a maze, word search, Lion City Adventuring Club story puzzle, sketch section, a short quiz based on the information inside the book, and more. We’ll make it available here soon, so if you’d like a copy for yourself, you can just download it and have it printed on A4 paper. And then make extra copies for everyone else too!

Here I am with the wonderful LION CITY ADVENTURES team from Marshall Cavendish.

How did I feel after the event? Happy. Excited. Amazed. Grateful to have made so many new friends. Eager to do it all over again. What’s next: I’m planning to write a few short stories about the Lion City Adventuring Club. Follow its members as they solve mysteries around the city, learn about all sorts of local myths and legends, and dig up curious artefacts from Singapore’s colonial and pre-colonial past. It’ll be like an urban exploration thriller for kids. It’ll remind us of the wonders of the Lion City.

It’ll be something super cool that we can all share.

See you soon!

— D

Thanks to Melvin and Mindy from Marshall Cavendish for running the Lion City Adventuring Club; Jeanette Teo and the team from Pansing Distribution for organising this; Melissa Foo and her team at Kinokuniya for hosting us and creating such a neat display with the books.

With Vishnu our handsome and talented illustrator. He created all the cool drawings in the book.

The activities were so exciting that a few parents were inspired to join us.