David Seow, an award-nominated Singapore author with over 20 well-received children’s books, is one of the many prominent children’s book authors (and illustrators) who will be appearing at Imagine | Native Creative Fest for Kids at S.E.A. Aquarium from 27 May to 12 June 2016.
An event that may seem serendipitous, since one of his books is “Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di At the S.E.A. Aquarium”, book 2 in a series about the adventures of characters based on his niece and nephews.
David will be at Imagine | Native on 12 June (10:55am – 1:20pm) to run a workshop with illustrator Soeara Jafney on “How to write and Illustrate a Picture Book”.
Here, he shares some insights into instilling a love of reading, his favourite children’s books and what is the most important ingredient in writing.
From when you first started writing, technology has greatly transformed how we live. How has writing for children changed for you, if at all?
From my perspective, everything starts with a story and that will never change. One does not write a story with the aim of it becoming a hugely successful app or game.
It’s technology that has to wrap itself around the author’s story. For example, The Samsung Kidstime Award at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content provides authors the opportunity to have their stories developed into ebooks and apps.
As we read from your blog, the Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di series was first launched in 1998 and then revamped and republished in 2013. How different are the two series?
What I can say about the current series is that Epigram Books has done an amazing job of producing and promoting the books and I am happy working with them. Soefara Jafney has done an amazing job with the illustrations.
For Book 2 of the revamped Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di series, the siblings go to S.E.A. Aquarium. What made you pick S.E.A. Aquarium?
I picked it because it is an original Resorts World Sentosa attraction and I like to feature places where kids would like to visit.
How do you come up with story ideas? How do you think parents can cultivate creativity in their children?
All you need to come up with story ideas is imagination. Let it run wild.
It’s the same when it comes to cultivating creativity in children – don’t restrict their imagination.
What’s your number one tip for developing a reading habit in children?
Like anything else, kids learn by example. If you don’t read, your kids probably won’t either. As long as it is age appropriate let them read what they’d like to read.
If it’s a comic let them read a comic. We all know how dry the content of local textbooks are, so you’ve got to let them read what they like.
By giving them the freedom of choice, they’ll pick up a healthy reading habit. If you insist on picking the books for them, you will definitely turn them off.
Reading is a choice and it’s not something that should be forced on a child. Show them how enjoyable a book can be, and they’ll pick one up. But if you shove a book of your choice down their throats, they’ll gag.
Do you have a favourite Singapore children book to recommend?
I actually have a few favourites to recommend:
- The Sherlock Sam series by AJ Low
- The Danger Dan series by Lesley-Anne and Monica Lim
- The Tibby the Tiger Bunny series by Emily Lim
- Fun at the Opera by Susanna Goho-Quek.
You’ll find authors AJ Low, Lesley-Anne and Monica Lim, Emily Lim and David Seow at Imagine | Native. They will be conducting workshops or storytelling sessions. Find out more on rwsentosa.com.
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