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Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014.

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Click here to sign up. If you have already signed up, here is the April-June linky where you can link up your reviews or updates from your reading list. We are also very excited to share that Pansing Books will be giving away copies of Julian Sedgwick’s Mysterium: The Palace of Mystery to two lucky CORL participants from April-June. So link up your posts now!

Carrie Gelson of There is a Book for That is also hosting #mustreadin2014.

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I believe I mentioned last week that we just had the book launch of One Big Story as part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. Here is one celebratory picture with a few of my chapter contributors.

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From L-R: Norhayati Razali from Kota Buku Malaysia, John McKenzie from New Zealand, Emily Lim from Singapore, me, Naomi Kojima from Japan and Yusof Gajah from Malaysia.

Still high from the AFCC, allow me to share a few picture books from friends that were given to me during the Festival.

10413372_10203147547902452_8696658723970289426_nA Day with the Duchess

Written by: David Seow Illustrated by: Soefara Jafney
Published by: Epigram Books, 2014
Book provided by author. Book photos taken by me.

The siblings Sam, Sebbie, and Di-Di-Di are very excited upon finding out that the Duchess of Cambridge is visiting Singapore with Prince William the Duke of Cambridge. The young girl Sam, in particular, simply loves princesses and she even named her hamster Kate after Duchess Catherine.

The three siblings made sure that they brought their hamster, Kate, with them as they stood outside of the sweltering heat at Gardens by the Bay after learning that the Duchess would spend the day there.

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However, with all the frenzied excitement, Sam, Sebbie, and Di-Di-Di failed to notice their hamster Kate slip away.

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Do you see Kate the hamster anywhere? Whether or not the kids would be able to get their hamster back, I shall leave for you to discover. This must be, by far, one of my favourite David Seow picturebook, although I also did fall in love with his Blow a Kiss.

Fun at the Opera10301518_10203147546742423_6612935297305800068_n

Written and Illustrated by: Susanna Goho-Quek
Published by: Oyez!Books, 2014 with the support of National Arts Council
Book provided by author. Book photos taken by me.

I featured this gorgeous book last year when it was still in its infancy stages. Auntie Susanna was generous enough to share the book dummy with me then, and if you click on this link, you’d be able to see my Q and A with Auntie Su a year ago, alongside a few of her inspirations. I was truly very excited to see it finally in print and in such beautifully-textured paper too.

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My “praise blurb” was printed at the back of the page and allow me to quote from that as I share with you the beauty of this book:

Fun at the Opera is a beautiful tale about an evening filled with a myriad of colours, swirling gleeful mischief and endless possibilities. It’s a beautiful gift that will be enjoyed by all children, parents, and grandparents for years and years to come.

IMG_4546I really hope that this book will cross national borders and would be enjoyed by friends coming from different parts of the world. Truly a beautiful book.

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The Circle10370440_10203147548502467_433914918772623498_n

Written by: Ken Spillman Illustrated by: Manjari Chakravarti
Published by: Armour Publishing, 2014
Book provided by author. Book photos taken by me.

I was truly privileged to launch this book during the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. Thank you so much, Ken, for thinking of me.

Here are some of the things that I shared during the actual launch, which I would love to share with you all.

The Circle, at its very essence, is a multicultural narrative that explores what it means to be different, and how one navigates his or her way around a hostile environment, filled with suspicion, doubt, and fear. It also portrays a vision of how one may be able to let go of such fears, and the quiet promise of what a truly ‘inclusive’ environment looks like in this “dwindling forest” of a world that we live in now.

IMG_4555The story talks about the interaction between the Little Creatures of a shrinking forest and how they perceived and responded to The Others who entered their circle. The ‘natives’ of the forest created little circles of worry and fear as they talk about how the presence of The Others would change the shape and nature of things.

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One of the things that struck me the most from this picturebook is how xenophobia is presented in a powerful manner as portrayed in this page:

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So, believing the Circle to be a perfection all their own,

they told the Others to go.

They told the Others to go home—

back to their own tiny parts of the forest

which had shrunk away to nothing.

They told the Others that this was not their Circle.

It was not their tiny part of a very small planet

that was all things to all Little Creatures—

other than the Others.

Ken, one of the kindest people I know, says that he dedicates this book to the big-hearted everywhere. He also shared during the book launch that this is more than just a story for him, it’s a prayer. Teachers would be happy to note that there are discussion questions included in the picturebook as well as a Bloom’s Taxonomy approach to introduce The Circle to children.

Currently Reading…

It was a slow reading week for me as I was actively involved with the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. It was great to catch up with so many friends who came from all over the world. I did manage to finish reading Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems: Volume One which is great.

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I am now returning back to The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt which I have neither abandoned nor finished yet.

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I am also starting to read Miranda Emmerson’s Fragrant Heart, a book given to us by Pansing Books for our current reading theme.

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Reading Challenge Update: 109, 110, 111 (25)

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10 comments on “[Monday Reading] Recently Published Picturebooks from Singapore

  1. I love the illustrations in the books! The first book has illustrations that I would have poured over as a kid! Congrats on everything!!

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  2. Got your message via SCBWI friends, hello back! 🙂 What a lovely variety of new books to look for, thank you! 🙂

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  3. What a wonderful week for you. Love the illustrated books…they are gorgeous.

    ENJOY all of your books, and have a wonderful reading week.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

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  4. I really like Fragrant Heart and the opera book. The pages of the books for children are so bright with color, just plain pretty.

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  5. I’ll definitely find The Circle, Myra-what a beautiful sounding book. And the other two, especially Fun At The Opera also look lovely. Thanks again for sharing what I might never find without your reviews!

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  6. The “A Day With The Duchess” sounds great! 😀

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  7. What a treat to have you share these books with us Myra What fun! Love the illustrations for all of them for different reasons. Also enjoyed the photographs you shared. Thank you!

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  8. I’m so envious of all the fun you seemed to have had recently. Thanks for sharing these books!

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  9. A whole collection of new-to-me books! Again, I so appreciate the photos of the illustrations you show. That often sways me to wanting to read a book that I might have been meh about based on the cover. Goldfinch! ARGH! I keep forgetting to find it and pick it up again. I’m with you on that one–I have neither finished it nor abandoned it!

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  10. Hello Myra! Love all the new titles you shared! Kate the Hamster is adorable and I love how the illustrations of William include a rather thick head of hair! Fun at the Opera – what a great book and I would have loved to have read it to the grade 3 classes this term as they were working with a group of young adults from the Vancouver Opera Company who helped them write and perform their very own opera based on a fairy tale a student had written. It was AMAZING! The Circle is a MUST for my school library and perfect for diversity and multicultural theme. Thanks and have a great week!

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