Peh Shing Huei
Types of kidlit books
Total kidlit books published
Dream Island: The Mad, Mad World of Philip Yeo (Epigram)
Panjang: The Tall Boy Who Became Prime Minister (World Scientific)
Describe your style
My main aim is to put a smile on the faces of young readers, so I try to inject a bit of humour and uplift them with messages which they can identify with.
How did you get started?
Edmund Wee from Epigram approached me to write kidlit after my biography on Philip Yeo: Neither Civil Nor Servant. I said I had no idea how to write one. I've always written on serious subjects for adults. He said it's okay, he will guide me. I said sure, always up for a challenge!
Where do you get story ideas?
My starting point is always: what do I want to read. Then I bounce the ideas off my publisher and the illustrator. In the case of Panjang, World Scientific and Drewscape were critical to the development of the story.
Pick one book of yours that kids should read
Panjang: The Tall Boy Who Became Prime Minister is a story of a boy who was self-conscious and awkward growing up, but learnt to be comfortable in his own body and confident in his abilities. In an era of much body shaming and hyper focus on image, it is important for children to know they don't have to be someone else to stand tall.
Tip for parents, how to help kids enjoy reading
Inject your kids' own experiences into the story you are reading. Bring in their friends, cousins, classmates so that the story is more relatable to them.
Tip for aspiring kidlit writers
Read what you have written out loud. You might realise some words aren't quite suitable. :)
Your big wish for kidlit publishing next year (2020)?
More kids picking up books by local authors!
GREAT KIDLIT SHOWCASE 2019
The updated list here
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+ Why should we make new books for young readers? My blog post from last year.