The Adventures of Squirky the Alien

A Children's Book Series on Adoption


Leave a comment

Squirky Book #3 Wins Crystal Kite Award!

crystal_commander

[This post is adapted from my frenzied FB update after we heard the news.]

“The Adventures of Squirky the Alien #3: Who is the Red Commander?” has won this year’s Crystal Kite Award (Middle East/India/Asia division)!

The annual Crystal Kite Award is given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) to recognise great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world. These books are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators.

“Who is the Red Commander?” is essentially about a flawed, fearful grown-up who gets told by two kids to face his personal monsters and get with the programme. It is the Squirky book closest to my heart as it parallels my journey in trying to get this book series out – an insecure, publicity-shy writer with zero experience writing children’s picture books trying to come up with not one, but SIX picture books on an uber-niche, kind-of-taboo-in-Asia topic like adoption. Can you imagine the amount of whining I put my husband through these past few years?

But like the Red Commander, I’ve realised that there are just some things I can’t sort out on my own. There would be no Squirky series without David’s evocative illustrations and MPH Group Publishing. The stories would have been a lot more convoluted without beta reader feedback from trusted writer friends. Practically no one would know about Squirky’s existence without the relentless shout-outs from  supportive buddies who are parent and book bloggers.

And to every one of you who bought these books for your kids or friends’/relatives’ kids even if you’re not from the adoption community: thank you for being open, for recognising that an adoption search story is still a story that any child can enjoy and relate to.

Ack, didn’t mean for this to sound like some sort of cheesy acceptance speech! But I felt I had to get this out just so you know that any reward star the blue alien underdog Squirky gets is really because of ALL your help. I am so grateful.


Leave a comment

Six things to know about Squirky #6

squirky6teaser

We’re launching the final Squirky book later this month at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (more details to come soon) and we’re so glad (yet sentimental) that this series is coming to an end.

Here are six things to look forward to in this book:

1. Quentin (aka Red Commander) meeting Squirky’s Daddy and Mummy back on Earth!
2. A few gorgeous doublespreads illustrated by David (we played around with the layout a little for this last book)!
3. A sneak peek at what Squirky and Emma look like when they are older!
4. Tying up (most of the) loose strings after Book #5!
5. An adoptive parent resource on how to disclose with sensitivity with insights from adoption counsellors.
6. Re-visiting the earlier Squirky books again to see how Squirky has evolved during this awesome space adventure and appreciating the story as a complete tale!

We hope you are just as excited about the last book as we are!

Sharing Squirky

1 Comment

sharing

The other day, C. had a playdate with a couple of friends, and a parent asked if I could do a quick storytelling session with the kids. I didn’t think it was going to be an issue as it was in a nice cosy place with people he was familiar with. However, when the time came, C. proceeded to have a huge meltdown and I had to stop the reading halfway to scoop him up as he writhed around the floor.

The few days after, C. would line up the Squirky books against the wall within viewing distance from his bed to ensure that I would not take the books and tell the story to anyone else. Even now that he is ok about keeping the books in the bookshelf, he’ll still give a mini-lecture about how when I tell the story to other people, he is “not able to see the book” (?)

Like C., I haven’t been that great in sharing him with others. There’s been a fear of not being able to see what’s next, and of being too vulnerable, which is ironic since the story is all about facing such things. I’m working on this. There’s still much to learn.

As a start, I’ve been bringing Squirky (stuff toy) along with me whenever I go out, taking pictures of him with people, and getting him out in the open. In the photo above, I brought him to the library and the minute I took him out, these two boys (sitting behind) came up to me to ask who he was. They helped me “art-direct” Squirky for this shot.

I hope C. will eventually be comfortable with accompanying me for Squirky storytelling sessions (and he should, because he’s such a drama king). I hope that one day, he’ll realise that this story he sees as his alone is also a story that can belong to many other children.


2 Comments

Friday Flips: God Found Us You

found Synopsis: When Little Fox asks his mother to tell his favourite story, Mama Fox recounts the day he arrived in her life, from God to her arms. 

God Found Us You by  Lisa Tawn Bergren and Laura J. Bryant is currently C’s favourite adoption book. It’s a little more wordy (for ages 4-8) than the other bedtime stories he’s reading at the moment, but he likes the intimate conversation that takes place between Mama Fox and Little Fox. He also thinks Little Fox looks cute. There are other animals that appear as “extras” in the story, and he likes to point them out as well.

Below is our favourite part of the book. I think it’s because we’re both kind of dreamy. “Is Mama Fox going for a swim?” C. asks.

swim

“I’d go up to the cliffs and watch for you. I stood there day after day after day …”

When I first read “God Found Us You” on my own, I did find it a tad touchy-feely. Must Mama Fox keep going on and on about how special Little Fox is? Shouldn’t he already know that by now? my stoic Asian brain cells thought to themselves. However, I did get this book long before C. talked. Reading it to him now, I realise that he is very curious to know what Mama Fox is thinking about all the time. So yes, even if this story is quite tedious to read aloud, I’m really happy C. has found an adoption story (besides Squirky!) that he enjoys.

found2

“But I knew that someday you’d arrive, when God would find us you.”

Borrow the Book (Singapore National Libraries only)
Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Call Number: English BER
Check for availability here (only one copy, so get it reserved!)

found3

“I love Little Fox SOOOOOOOO much!”

This review is part of the Friday Flip series by Growing with the Tans.

Growing with the Tans