In this post, I am going to talk about a lovely Children’s book “A Morning with Grandpa” written by Sylvia Liu and beautifully illustrated by Christina Forshay.
In my personal opinions, I like this book for three reasons.
1, This book is about an Asian Child, precisely, a Chinese girl.
To be honest, even though there are many children’s books on the market, it is not easy to find an English Children’s book telling a story about an Asian child. That is why I felt connected right away with this book: A Morning with Grandpa.
I always wish to find more children’s books that tell stories about the life of Asian kids, especially, Chinese kids. I wish my children can see themselves in the media including books.
Fortunately, some publishers have started to notice this need. I believe, this book, A Morning with Grandpa , is one of these efforts.
2, This book is about family, specifically, a grandchild and her grandpa.
This book tells about how a Chinese girl named Mei Mei spent a morning with her grandpa Gong Gong by teaching each other what they know.
By reading this book, my children could relate themselves with their grandparents. My parents both live back in China. They spend limited time with my children but they have built a strong bond when they were together.
3, This book talks about an interesting cultural topic: Tai Chi and Yoga.
Tai Chi is a very popular martial art among Chinese, especially senior Chinese people. However, to many English speaking people, Yoga (瑜伽) ( yú ɡā) is more popular.
I practice Tai Chi (太极) (tài jí ) myself. I have to say, Tai Chi is an very interesting work out. By moving slowly but constantly all the time while concentrating on breath, Tai Chi helps clear the mind and sweat the body.
I believe this book will help more children learn about both Tai Chi and Yoga. At the same time they can recall those sweet moments they spent with their grandparents.
To help readers know more of the story behind this book, below is an interview with the book author, Sylvia Liu. Enjoy your reading.
1, Tell us about yourself.
I am Chinese-American, born to parents who immigrated to the U.S. for graduate school from China (via Taiwan). My family moved to Caracas, Venezuela when I was five, where I went to American and international schools through high school. I came back to the U.S. for college and law school.
After a decade of working as an environmental lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice (working on Native American rights, environmental justice, coral reefs, and wildlife protection issues) and the non-profit group, Oceana (marine conservation work), I quit the law to spend time with my two girls and explore my original love of writing and art. I now write and illustrate for children, as well as do freelance infographics.
I am also quite active in online kid lit communities. My friend Elaine Kiely Kearns and I run the kid lit resource website, Kidlit411 (www.kidlit411.com), which was named as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest last year.
I am beyond thrilled that my debut picture book as an author, A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, illustrated by Christina Forshay, published by Lee & Low Books, is finally coming out this May. We have been thrilled with some great reviews it’s gotten in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly
2, What is your inspiration for writing this book?
I was inspired by the relationship between my father and my two daughters. My father has practiced tai chi since I was a young girl and also practices qi gong, which involves breathing techniques and postures to move qi, or energy, around the body to improve health.
3, Any interesting stories behind this book?
Not really; I am pretty boring!
My original draft for the story included a part where Gong Gong teaches Mei Mei about qi gong. I deleted that part of the story because it didn’t fit well in the overall balance of the story, and there was enough to cover both tai chi and yoga.
Writing the book inspired me to take tai chi classes to see what it is all about (besides seeing my father do it), and I’ve come to appreciate what a meditative (yet difficult to master) practice it is.
4, What is your challenge for writing this book?
One challenge was to describe the tai chi poses in interesting and lyrical ways that was accessible to children and that were true to the poses. When you actually look at or practice tai chi, the poses flow from one to the other and go by rather quickly, so it’s hard to break them down into a tangible description.
Similarly, with the yoga poses, I am not a serious practitioner, so I had to study the different poses to convey them in a fun yet accurate way. Luckily, Lee & Low had access to tai chi and yoga experts to review the text.
5, What is your plan for next book?
I don’t have a contract for another book, but I have several completed picture book manuscripts. I plan to continue to do what I’ve been doing—writing and revising, and developing my illustration portfolio.
Sylvia Liu ( profile photo: © K.Woodard Photography ) is an environmental lawyer turned children’s author and illustrator.
Her debut as a picture book author, A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, illustrated by Christina Forshay (Lee & Low Books) comes out May 2016.
She was lucky to do what she loved, protecting the oceans and the environment at the U.S. Department of Justice and the nonprofit group Oceana, and now she is even luckier to paint, draw, and write for children.
She lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her portfolio at www.enjoyingplanetearth.com, her blog at www.sylvialiuland.com, and the kid lit site, www.kidlit411.com.