@ the National Library of Australia

Late in 2014 I received an email from Susan Hall, publisher at the National Library of Australia informing me that they would be holding an exhibition about the history of Beijing, using items from the National Library of China as well as from their own extensive Asian Collection.

… I was wondering if you would be interested in writing a picture book for children aged 5-8 for NLA Publishing? … inspired by the story of Beijing in some way …

parading dragon

parading dragon

After a quick trip to Canberra and scouring the digital collection at Susan’s computer an idea formed, pictures were hung in our dining room, a story was crafted, and the end result is my just released book New Year Surprise! illustrated by my amazing friend Di Wu. When I asked Di if he was interested in illustrating my story I discovered that it was rather fortuitous as he was considering this jump back into illustrating after a little hiatus. He created amazing art for our book and of course when the exhibition is over I have the privilege of one of his pieces adorning our walls.

The exhibition Celestial Empire is quite inspiring and not to be missed – not just because my book is there. The combination of works from both libraries is phenomenal including some of the pieces that were the inspiration for my story. I am so thrilled that New Year Surprise! is part of the exhibition. Thanks to Susan and all the National Library publishing crew for what they have done.

This past Tuesday Di and I were at the Library for a school holiday activity that filled the room with kids colouring in dragons and monkeys (it is year of the monkey after all) and listening to my first public reading of the story. What fun! Di’s luscious rice paper creations were also on display. We were interviewed and of course there was a signing session too – and we both used our chops!

And now that the book has been released it’s celebration time!



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