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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Phoenix Song to be published in September!

Phoenix Song will be published in early September 2015!  Many thanks to the dynamic duo at Lantana Publishing, Alice Curry and Caroline Godfrey, for making Phoenix Song possible!

To pre-order :

As both text and illustrations have been finalised, I'm finally allowed a share a few pages from the book. Enjoy!

Cover of the book. Illustrations are by Martina Peluso.
A shout-out from Kevin Bathman, Administrator of The Chindian Diaries :
"For Mums with young children from 4-8 years old, here's a wonderfully vibrant storybook called Phoenix Song by Lantana Publishing.
I'm a big fan of culturally diverse children's book, as I think its important that children can see themselves reflected in the stories they read." 

Summary: Arohan is desperate for a guitar. What eight year old boy isn’t? So when Arohan’s grandmother gives him a plain old bamboo flute for his birthday, he is understandably a little upset. But the xiao is no ordinary flute. An instrument steeped in the myths and legends of China, the xiao has its own special magic, as Arohan is soon to discover.

Notes: Notice the gorgeous Nyonya costume worn by the grandmother! What is a Nyonya? 
  1. The Nyonya or Baba-Nyonya are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago and British Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore) between the 15th and 17th centuries. Sometimes known as Straits-born Chinese (Straits refers to the Straits of Malacca), members of this community in Malaysia also call themselves "Peranakan." They practice a culture which is a fusion of Chinese and Malay - most obviously reflected in their dress and food.

When his brothers go missing on the slopes of the hill behind their home in Malaysia, Arohan must ensure they return safe and sound. But does he have what it takes to placate the guardian of the bamboo grove and summon the mythical phoenix? A touching and courageous story of a young boy’s love for his family and the magical things that can happen when you listen to your heart.

‘A wind of music and brotherly love takes us soaring through the pages of Phoenix Song. Children everywhere will see their own talents, disappointments, and heroes’ journeys mirrored in Arohan’s adventure.’
      – Mitali Perkins, author of Tiger Boy
‘An evocative ‘song’  that echoes in the heart.’
      – Mahtab Narsimhan, award-winning author of The Tiffin

Apart from Phoenix Song, Lantana Publishing will also be releasing Dragon Dancer by Joyce Chng and Jeremy Pailler, and Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokht Amini in September 2015. Both Joyce Chng (Singapore) and Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria/USA) are Science Fiction & Fantasy writers.
Dragon Dancer by Joyce Chng and Jeremy Pailler
It is the eve of Chinese New Year.  Lanterns are hung in the shopping malls of Singapore and Yao is preparing to wake the ancient sky dragon, Shen Long, from his year-long sleep. From the moment Shen Long opens his great amber eyes and unfurls his silver-blue tail, Yao will be propelled on a magical journey through the skies of Singapore to battle the bad luck of the previous year and usher in the good. Will he succeed? Will his grandfather watch over him and protect him from harm? A beautiful story of a Chinese festival and its symbolism for Chinese communities everywhere, told from the perspective of Yao, the dragon dancer.

Dragon Dancer: Stunning illustration by Jeremy Pailler

I met Joyce briefly in Singapore in May, this year. She is an astonishingly prolific writer, considering the fact that she holds a full-time teaching job and is the mother of two young girls. I have an autographed copy of her book Rider, the first book of a trilogy.

Joyce mentioned a book she is editing with Jaymee Goh, gloriously entitled : The Sea is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia.  I wished I had heard of this project earlier, I would have loved to contribute... So what is Steampunk? It's a sub-genre within the larger Science Fiction genre, which I'm not going to attempt to define. It's easier to give examples of Steampunk anime and movies: Fullmetal Alchemist for one. If that doesn't ring a bell, how about Disney's Atlantis - the lost empire? And of course, Howl's Moving Castle.

Nnedi Okorafor is a rising star in the world of Science Fiction. Her latest sci-fi book is The Book of Phoenix. 

Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokht Amini
What would you do if you woke up one night to find the shadow of a giant chicken passing your bedroom door? Go and investigate of course! When Anyaugo follows a giant chicken into her kitchen one warm night in Nigeria, she embarks on a hilarious adventure where nothing is quite as it seems. Is the nature spirit that lives in the wooden walls of her house a help or a hindrance? Is the mischievous giant chicken a friend or a foe? Most importantly, will Anyaugo be able to save the food her aunties have cooked for the New Yam Festival the next day? World Fantasy Award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor provides us with a hugely entertaining look at the fascinating masquerade culture of West Africa, told from the perspective of a plucky young Nigerian girl who finds the courage to protect the traditions she loves.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Looking for Lord Ganesh by Mahtab Narsimhan and Sonja Wimmer (somewhat like not noticing the elephant in the room ;) )  Mahtab's book is the latest addition to Lantana's portfolio.  Looking for Lord Ganesh is scheduled for release in 2016.

Looking for Lord Ganesh by Mahtab Narsimhan and Sonja Wimmer

Anika has recently emigrated from India and is having a difficult time adjusting to life in a new country, not to mention life in a new school. Remembering the advice her grandmother gave her, she prays to Lord Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god. But Lord Ganesh is slow to respond and Anika takes to the internet to attract his attention. When her problems begin to resolve themselves, she can breathe a sigh of relief. But has Lord Ganesh truly been helping her, or has she been relying on her own inner wisdom all along? This is a sweet and witty story about staying true to one’s beliefs and finding strength in unlikely places.

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