AFCC Book Club: Dim Sum Warriors

Exciting news! We are having an AFCC Book Club!

The Arts House, the National Book Development Council of Singapore and the Asian Festival of Children’s Content Book Club present The Singapore Launch of DIM SUM WARRIORS 点心侠.

After creating the satirical website TalkingCock.com and winning international awards for their movie Singapore Dreaming, the husband-and-wife creative team of Colin Goh & Woo Yen Yen have a brand new project – DIM SUM WARRIORS, a critically-acclaimed comic series for the iPad that also supports the learning of Chinese and English!

 

“Sodding brilliant!”

– Chris Claremont, legendary writer, Uncanny X-Men

 

“What a great app!”

– Gene Luen Yang, Eisner Award-winning writer, American Born Chinese and Avatar: The Last Airbender – the Promise

 

“Fun and witty… brilliantly designed”

– Rob Salkowitz, digital media expert and author, Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture

 

Come and meet Colin and Yen Yen and learn more about their foray into the exciting new field of digital transmedia entertainment and get a sneak preview of what they’re planning next…

WHEN: Wednesday, 11 July 2012

WHERE: Living Room, The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429

FREE ADMISSION – Kids Welcome!

To register, click here.

Download the brochure.

 

About the Creators

Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen are the husband-and-wife creative team behind Dim Sum Warriors, the critically-acclaimed comic app for the iPad that also supports the learning of English and Chinese.

Together, they also founded the satirical website TalkingCock.com, and made the movie Singapore Dreaming, which won the prestigious Montblanc New Screenwriters Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and the Best Asian Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and has even been screened at the Smithsonian Institution.

A former lawyer, Colin has been cartooning professionally for over 20 years. He also recently ended a well-regarded column for the Straits Times and continues to write the highly popular Last Page for 8Days. Recently, he illustrated the New York Times international bestseller ‘Search Inside Yourself’ by Google’s Chade-Meng Tan.

Yen Yen received her doctorate in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York, where she was awarded the prestigious Spencer Research Fellowship.  She is now an Associate Professor at Long Island University’s College of Education and Information Sciences, teaching courses in curriculum development and the social foundations of education. She has also worked as an education consultant and an instructional designer for an education software company.

 

Enquries:

Tel: (65) 6848 8290
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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.

Starry Starry Night

Children’s book industry professionals and the public gather for a night of celebration.

More than 80 people assembled at The Arts House Gallery on May 26 to celebrate a night dedicated to the children’s book industry.

According to the event website, the National Book Development Council of Singapore and MediaCorp jointly organised the event “Celebrating Our Stars” on May 26, as part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content – in its third year – which lasted from May 26 to May 29. The event participants included various children’s book industry professionals worldwide, and members of the public. It aimed to provide an opportunity for these participants to converse with one another, network, and explore the possibilities of working together in the growing Asian publishing industry.

Ms Adeline Foo – author of  “The Diary of Amos Lee” – was invited as a guest speaker to kick off the night with an overview about local children’s books’ journey through time, along with professional storyteller-cum-teacher-cum-writer Ms Rosemarie Somaiah, and Ms Er Lai Kuan, a seasoned librarian with 15 years experience.

During the overview, Ms Foo brought up several trends in the local children’s book industry, such as the emergence of many writers self-publishing books, and children’s books containing more moral values. She also said “e-books, as well as print books” have to coexist while on the topic of e-book publishing being on the rise.

Ms Denyse Tessensohn, a Singaporean writer living in Johor Bahru, pitched for people to pre-order her biography about an obscure Singapore-born Eurasian illustrator-cum-animator named Errol Le Cain. “Tell me why we don’t know him in Singapore? It’s astounding that we don’t,” said Ms Tessensohn. During her pitch, she presented many artworks that Errol Le Cain painted when he was alive. “I think the ‘Errol Le Cain’ presentation was really good, and the feedback was really good,” said Ms Faith Huang, one of the event facilitators.

Ms Ethel Tan from MediaCorp introduced a new digital initiative called “ilovebooks.com”, which is an e-bookstore. Mr Francis Teo, a member of the audience, said he had gotten more insight into the future of e-books and hopes to learn more about the e-book market.

The audience included members of the public who were interested in being part of the children’s book industry. Mr Alex Wong, a member of the audience, said he attended “Celebrating Our Stars” partly because he thought of becoming a writer. He also said the presentations that night were engaging, and was surprised to see a number of local authors he knew about in the flesh.

Ms Faith Huang said the organising team is considering to initiate a session which allows authors to meet readers directly next year, giving the readers a chance to know them better.

 

Audience filling up the seats at the start of the night.

 

Ms Adeline Foo (right) giving the opening presentation, with Ms Er Lai Kuan (centre) and Ms Rosemarie Somaiah (left).

 

Ms Denyse Tessensohn at her booth displaying scanned versions of Errol Le Cain’s artworks after the presentations.

My day at AFCC

*This article is written by our youngest student journalist who is 9 years old.
 
On Saturday, 27th May 2012, I went to the Asian Parents Forum in the Asian Festival of Children’s Content at The Arts House in Singapore. I attended two programs and spent three hours in the Arts House. 
 
The first program I attended was the Story-telling Session from 11am-1pm, hosted by Sheila Wee. There were about 30 people there and the program was successful as everyone enjoyed it. My favorite story was an American folklore about a Coyote and a bird. I liked it as it was funny. 
 
The second program I went to was a book launch. The book was called “Dumbcane and Daffodils” written by 14 year old R Viknesh. The story was about a boy named Timmy Tim and his ups and downs in life. I enjoyed the presentation. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I ended up buying the book. My mum told me it would help me in my English Exams, but to be honest, I think just reading and re-reading a book is more fun than using it for an exam, cause that’s not what I feel a storybook should be used for. 
 
My last comment or compliment is to the lads who made the food at the lunch-break, not to mention the lime juice. ( Or the lad who chose the food and drinks.)
 
Written by Judah Kan 

Digital Marketing – Exploring Multiple Revenue Streams

The event was on Tuesday, 28 May 2012 at the Playden, Arts House @ The Old Parliament House. It was the fifth session of the Asian Children’s Media Summit of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) 2012.

AFCC 2012 seemed to have a heavy emphasis on technological engagement for the development and business of Children’s Content. Such a focus was most explicit in this session of the Media Summit, exploring the new ways of establishing business online in the context of Children’s Content, even applicable to other age groups.

The panel was an interesting combination of a Children’s Content developer, author Adeline Foo of The Diary of Amos Lee acclaim, an ex-Media Development Authority (MDA) personnel-turned-technology-entrepreneur cum marketer Aaron Chua, as well as Producer and Content Developer Daryl John Ho.

Sharing by Chua

Chua began the session with advice using Google to identify potential markets for Children Content Developers’ Intellectual Property. Compact but comprehensive, Chua’s presentation provided much general insights into the world of digital marketing.

Underlying the building of online distribution channels, understanding Google and search engine optimization, and the equation of trust, is the building of a brand name. Building online distribution channels was “the most important thing” in today’s context, he emphasized.

Quoting Judith Jones, Chua definitely helped to redefine the audience’s understanding of the power of Google, “You follow your instincts, the things that you love. If you feel strongly about a book, the rationalization is that there must be others like you who want it.” Experience and gut feel might not beat Google’s algorithms in these digital days!

Apart from the technical marketing know-hows, heart-ware remained an emphasis. Summed up in a magical equation, T = R + D, the concept of trust was built upon the foundations of “Reliability” and “Delight” by Chua. Not only should one seek to fulfill promises made, but also strive to bring value-added happiness to customers.

Constantly using the example of his wife’s interest in setting up a “cake pop” business, Chua provided an accessible case study to contextualize the theoretical frameworks he presented.

In contrast, the multiple examples brought up by Ho, the next speaker, caught me losing track of them, but helped to greatly widen the scope of discussion in the context of Children’s Content.

Sharing by Ho

Focusing on the business of expanding the profits of Intellectual Property, Ho interestingly framed this as “selling your by-product”. Keywords that flew about and that were expounded upon included “transmedia”, “gamify”, “innovation” and “inter-connectedness”.

In short, Ho’s presentation served to highlight the potential of Intellectual Property being profit-maximised through their transformation into different mediums (whereby “transmedia” and “inter-connectedness” is relevant), be they books adapted into films and games.

Expanding the range of appeal of the Intellectual Property material through engaging various demographic groups is a form of innovation, of which “gamify-ing” the experience is a method.

By acknowledging the difficulties of “enriching content” in the first place, as well as finding the balance between “telling the medium’s… and [one’s] own story”, Ho increased the dimensions of digital marketing of Children’s Content today.

Sharing by Foo

Digital Marketing was further contextualised to Children’s Content with Foo’s presentation, “Making a Brand beyond Books”. Chronicling her journey through publishing The Diary of Amos Lee to her current partnership with Mediacorp for the publishing of her latest e-book, Thomas Titans, Foo shared the struggles she faced in the balance between establishing her content and authorship reputation.

Physical representation seemed the best way for Foo to achieve branding for both her works and her professional content development repute. School visits and participation in festivals both local and overseas, as well as media interviews were examples Foo highlighted.

For the digital aspect, Foo presented her decisions as inclining to place the spotlight on her Children’s Content. Whether choosing a web domain taking on the namesake of her lead character, Amos Lee, or choosing the persona of Amos Lee again in her paid blogging stint, Foo made her deliberation of these decisions as a branding measure apparent to the audience.

As for her newest book, Thomas Titan, Foo shared her aspirations of increasing her personal share of revenue through the e-books way to publishing. The traditional publishing processes in Singapore has long remained a closed-door affair; the rise of technology-based alternatives certainly holds much promise to provide other streams of revenue for Children’s Content developers, such as Foo.

The technology fever is sure a trend to stay. Children’s Content and technology… What a potent mix!

Article by Christina Ong, AFCC 2012 student journalist.

The Art and Science of Writing Book Reviews: Online vs. Print

From left to right: Facilitator Tarie (seated), panelist Daphne Lee (standing), and seated panelists Anu Kumar and Blooey Singson (seated)
Low-resolution photograph taken with my mobile phone camera

The event was on Monday, 28 May 2012 at the Playden, Arts House @ The Old Parliament House. It was the twelfth session of the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) 2012.

In the many dimensions of the Children’s Content industry, book reviews provide critical introduction of literature. For consumers, whether parents, librarians and or young readers themselves, deciding on the selection of kid reads could hinge upon positive feedback of book reviewers. This session brought together the diverse experiences of the three panelists, Blooey Singson, Anu Kumar and Daphne Lee, the facilitator, Tarie, and members of the audience, in discussing the differences the online and print medium effects on book reviews.

Their passion for books brought the session to life as they shared their love for children’s literature and their writing careers. Harry Potter-lover Singson adds at least 5 books a week to her personal collection and would buy every edition of books she loves. Kumar spoke of the timeless appeal of The Tale of Two Cities and To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee drew laughter from the audience jesting on the socializing opportunities Children’s Literature brought to her.

Such intertwining of their passion for Children’s Literature extended to their careers as well.

Both Singson and Lee share the same day job of journalists, writing Children’s Literature book reviews for the Manila Bulletin and The Star of Malaysia and Philippines respectively. By hobby, both maintain their personal online literature review platforms.

Paralleling similar passion for Children’s Literature, Kumar is an author who writes Children’s Fiction and contributes book reviews on Children’s books on an online blog.

They never seemed to tire talking about books as they shared their personal guidelines and feelings about online and print book reviews extensively.

All three panelists echoed similar sentiments on the rigidity of print reviews, whether due to content requirements, space constraints or editorial and censorship restrictions.

Their praise of the online medium’s flexibility in exercising personal discretion in these areas was balanced however, by the demanding nature of online readership, with no monetary rewards.

Such a desire in sharing Children’s Literature with others remains the key motivation of their extensive reading and writing lifestyle.

All three panelists also shared helpful tips on working with bloggers and book reviewers for authors, illustrators and publishers. The personal relationship founded upon understanding and appreciation for the blogger still counts the most, not just a good read!

While they were all decorated writing professionals with awards and outstanding experiences, their dedication to Children’s Literature left a marked impression upon me.

More than mere critique and enthusing the introduction of literature, the panelists allowed me to see the cornerstone of passion that would make such a difference to book reviews, whether in print or online.

Article by Christina Ong, AFCC 2012 student journalist.

Light Touch, Gritty Themes: Dealing with Big Issues in Books for Kids and Young Adults

For this talk, a panel of Australian authors convened in the Living Room to discuss their individual approaches in their writing to the sensitive issues that resonate with their readers. The room was packed full of people with those arriving slightly later having to squeeze in corners and sit on the floor.

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Norman Jorgensen started the session by talking about his best selling picture book, “In Flander’s Fields” (pictured above) the profits from which he claimed funds his annual holidays. Jorgenson had had difficulty getting the book published due to it being centred on a soldier during the war and not about “rabbits and flowers” as most children’s picture books of that time were. He also mentioned other gritty picture books on war and the environment such as Where the Buffaloes Begin by Olaf Baker. Picture books need not be the light-hearted page turners they usually are but can also be an avenue to give food for thought to young children.

The two other authors on the panel, Julia Lawrinson and Dianne Wolfer, both talked about the importance of having a light touch when writing about hard issues such as abortion, underage pregnancy and discrimination. “It’s not the material, it’s the way that you handle it.” says Lawrinson. She showed us a cover of her book “Losing It” which I thought was particularly clever (see below). It is a story about exploring sexuality from the perspective of a teenage girl. Lawrinson said that she wrote it as there were many books for boys about sex but none for girls at the time, as if it was somehow taboo. She made the story humorous and fun, believing that books like these were needed as they made girls think about these issues and how they handle relationships. Ironically, the librarians who had no objections to stocking her book were from strongly conservative Catholic high schools whereas public schools in some cases banned her book due to fear of backlash from parents.

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Wolfer agrees that the “light touch” should often be done with humor, and is a necessity when writing gritty children’s books as “it’s the light touch that makes it accessible to young children.” Her book, Choices, relates the story of a teenage girl with an unwanted pregnancy. Her book is unique in that it shows both paths that the teenager may take. Though the main protagonist is Elizabeth, she is “split” into two people in the book as Lizzy who decides to have the baby and Beth who decides to get an abortion. This weaving of the two choices and their different consequences is done skilfully throughout the book. Wolfer says that “If you create characters your reader cares about, they will go with your character to dark and difficult places.”

Having said that, when the panel was asked if there were any topics that were too gritty to write about, suicide and eating disorders were mentioned. Lawrinson argues that books about eating disorders have to be done right as they may be a trigger or a form of justification for potential readers who are currently suffering from eating disorders. All three authors in the panel agree that they face censorship issues often not because of the tough issues they tackle, but rather the use of vulgarities in their books, especially Lawrinson as she writes YA novels about teens living in rough neighbourhoods. She notes wryly that often it is the adults that take offence and place a language warning on her work, rather than the teens who hardly notice them. Ultimately, all three authors in the panel agree that there is a need to write gritty books for children and young adults, but it is a task to undertake with the utmost care and lightest touch.