It’s always fascinating to learn about the creative process of a children’s book creator, so I was drawn to Il Sung Na’s session on “Korean Picture Books: The Power of Picture” at the AFCC Writers and Illustrators conference last month.
Il Sung Na is the writer and illustrator of several acclaimed picture books, including “Zzzzz: A Book of Sleep,” “The Thingamabob,”” “Brrrr: A Book of Winter,” “Hide & Seek,” and “Shhhh: A Book of Babies.” Born in Seoul, he studied illustration in London and is now based in Baltimore, USA. His illustration work is mixed media and digital.
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I got to interview New York Times bestselling YA author Jenny Han during her Philippine book signing tour this weekend, something I had been looking forward to after finishing her latest novel, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is about Lara Jean Song, who writes secret letters to each boy she has ever loved as a way of moving on and purging them out of her system. To Lara Jean’s mortification, her letters somehow disappear and get sent out, making their way to five boys, including her next door neighbor Josh, who happens to be her sister’s boyfriend.
I’m not sure if it’s some unspoken rite of passage among teenage girls, but I wrote these kinds of letters at that age, too (some I actually sent, some I still keep, but they will never see the light of day! :D), and I’m sure countless of other readers have done it as well. Lara Jean is perhaps on the young side of 16 compared to heroines of the same age in other YA novels, but I found all her little quirks charming, and I think ultimately more relatable, at least for the young Filipino reader. I enjoyed the candidness of the writing, the heartfelt emotion behind the words, and how the novel successfully captures high school awkwardness, boy crushes, friendship, cultural identity, and family.
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As you well know, I’ve introduced a steady supply of graphic novels in my reading diet for the past few months and I’ve been enjoying the regular break from straight text. But because I still haven’t acquired the taste for graphic novels involving multiple volumes (except for Fables, which I’m planning on collecting via the annual deluxe editions), spandex-clad characters or ka-pow effects, I’ve been seeking out one-volume graphic novels to add to my growing collection.
I came across Re-gifters on BookMooch, looked it up and saw that it’s gotten good reviews, and had to have it shipped to my mom in California (because the moocher only sends to the US) and then waited for her to come home before I could get my hands on it. It turned out to be worth all the trouble!
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