Monday, June 30, 2014

on my desk monday

On my desk is a photo of the Wildwood School's class of 2013, who awarded Where the Mountain Meets the Moon the Wildwood Medal last year.  Wildwood was one of the schools in CA that I visited last month and I was thrilled to be told that the book had won this very neat award! And it was great fun meeting the students, too!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

finagling for a return trip

Do you go to a school in Hawaii? Would you like me to visit your school? Well, I might be back in Hawaii in April, so  maybe I could come*!

And, why (besides it obviously being Hawaii!) might I be coming back? To see the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon play there! Yes, as I may have mentioned earlier, the Honolulu Theater for Youth is putting on their own production of the book:

And it promises to be much different from the other adaptations that I've seen so far. At the conference, the theater put on a short excerpt of their first interpretation of the book. I'm told that the final performance will probably not be like this but what was shown was definitely intriguing! I really liked their idea of mixing a modern aesthetic:

with a very traditional one:
this is "The Story of the Old Man of the Moon" told in the Peking Opera theater-style
It's parallel to my own interpretation of my work, thematically--I like to think of my books as mix of my modern, Asian-American sensibilities and the traditional stories I take inspiration from. So you can see why I'm so interested in seeing the Honolulu Theatre's final product!

So I'm trying to work out a return trip! If you are a Hawaii school, let me* know if you'd be interested in having me for a school'd definitely help me make my decision!

*contact my school visit coordinator Aimee at to set it up! Not only would your school not have to pay airfare (as I think the theater would pay for that), it would be the "local fee!" 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

this week in our garden

Before we left for Hawaii, our garden was showing promising signs of life:

Even though Rain Dragon seemed more taken with the garden ornaments and the walkway:

We thought Rain Dragon might like a little garden of her own. 

And she does like her garden very much:

Though, she likes stomping in muddy puddles a little bit more...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Inspiration from Hawaii

So, our pilot to Hawaii didn't inspire a lot of confidence:

But Hawaii, itself, was full of inspiration. From the water and beaches:

to the flora and food:

And, of course, the whole reason why I was in Hawaii in the first place! I was invited to be illustrator keynote speaker for the Biennial Children's Literature Conference in Hawaii. As well as not-to-be-missed opportunity to go to Hawaii (my first time!) it was a huge honor! I was alongside the amazing Kathy Appelt (the author keynote speaker) whose speech was the definition of inspiration:

I got all teary-eyed during her talk!
I'm glad I got to know her a little before her speech or else I would've been too much in awe of her to do things like this:
children's book author selfies!
But what was especially inspirational for me were the people. With Hawaii's huge Asian-American population, for the first time ever, I felt like I was in an environment where I was not an outsider in some way. I've been so used to feeling my minority status (in mainland US not looking like everyone else and in Asia not speaking like everyone else-)that it was really an odd feeling to be in Hawaii where everyone was pretty similar to me. In many ways, it felt like a homecoming for me. 

And what really brought that feeling home was  how well-loved my books were there. At the conference, there were so many students excited about my books! It was really touching.  Many brought drawings and letters. One girl gave me this:

It's a Pacy Passing Doll! Apparently, she was liked the idea of my Pocket Pacys so much that she decided to make her own parallel project--Passing Dolls! What fun!

One family, along with a homemade lei and a well-practiced cheer, gave me this red envelope with ten dollars to give to "a charity of my choice." Isn't that awesome?

They are quite a family! Check out the father's hilarious essays on his Family Matters in Hawaii Blog!

One class came with this interesting project where they had analyzed  Where the Mountain Meets the Moon with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People!


Another school came with "birthday" library books--students donated their favorite book to the library on their birthday, with their own memorializing bookplate:

And did I mention the leis? The beautiful, fragrant leis! In Hawaii, one is given a lei as a symbol of welcome. Well, the people there definitely made me feel welcome, I felt as if everyone I met gave me one. I wish it was a fashion statement I could carry onto the mainland:

weighed down by leis....and this isn't even all of the ones I was given!
Mahalo, Hawaii!

Monday, June 23, 2014

on my desk monday

I received this surprise gift from  Gretchen Hensley of the design chick! She read Starry River of the Sky and was so moved that she made this gorgeous necklace for me! Check out her other beautiful creations here

I only wish I had gone to my PO box earlier so that I could've worn it to the Starry River of the Sky play, but hopefully I'll have another special occasion to wear it to. Thanks, so much Gretchen!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

josh's movie

In Hawaii, I had an artist workshop with teens and I promised to share this video that one of the student's had made! Here it is:

Experimenting with Reality from Something Wonderful on Vimeo.

Good job, Josh!

Friday, June 20, 2014

fortune cookie friday

"When luck visits you , everyone will know where you live."
- Chinese Proverb

Monday, June 16, 2014

on my desk monday

On my desk are souvenirs from my trip to Hawaii! Just got back! 

a kukui nut lei, a matsumotio shave ice t-shirt (wish I could've brought back the ice!) and some beach treasures

I was there for the Children's Literature Festival* which I paired with some family fun...which I will post more about later.

*At the festival, I met with some teen artists to whom I promised to share a fellow student's video on this blog. Josh, unfortunately, the url you gave me didn't work. If you want to give me the link in the comments here, I'll post it then.

Friday, June 13, 2014

fortune cookie friday

"Experience is a comb that we receive just when we are going bald."
- Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

a newbery award ceremony

I know,  I know, I did NOT win the Newbery Honor in 2014. So why do I have this?

Well, because I attended La Jolla Country's Day School's Newbery Award ceremony! It's an amazing program where students who have read 30 or more Newbery books are honored. To receive a paperweight like mine above, one has to have read at least 50 Newbery books (I might have to catch up on some reading...).

If a student reads 75 Newbery books or more, they get amazing awards:

plus their name on a plaque that is displayed for eternity at the school:

I love how much the Newbery Award is respected and revered with this program.  And I was completely honored that they invited me to be the speaker at the ceremony. For the first time, I wished my book had won a gold sticker instead of a silver just so I could be worthy.

I felt this especially after two lovely students introduced me with speeches that brought tears to my eyes. Here's an excerpt of one of them:
"My mom loves Grace Lin because she is one of the very few Asian American children's authors, and she thinks it's important for kids to see themselves reflected in books. I love her books because they are funny, touching and you could lose yourself in her books..."
Wow, isn't that nice? I think I need a tissues? Well, how about a drink?

of "NewBERRY Punch?" ha ha ha!

The students got so much out of the program, you could see how much they all loved books and reading and how the school valued literacy. It was so rewarding to be there, but I also know that none of it would've been accomplished without the hard work of the La Jolla Day School librarians:

So a very special thank you to them for all their hard work and for inviting me! It was a great time for all!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Belated Hong Kong post: Temple Inspirations

Last time I was in Hong Kong, I visited the Tin Hau Temple. I remember being completely captivated by its unpretentious, haphazard reverence. It was, though I didn't know it at the time,  the initial seed of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

So, I was eager to see it again! There was a bit crowded this time but the temple still had its charm:

And I said hello to an old friend:

Can't place him? Think of those red ribbons as red threads...

This fellow might show up in my new novel...

though Rain Dragon would probably prefer this character:

We'll have to see...

Luckily, there's plenty of inspiration to choose from!

Monday, June 9, 2014

on my desk monday

On my desk are autographed copies are A Drowned Maiden's Hair, The Night Fairy,  The Pocket Guide to the Outdoors  and a plastic elephant. That is because all the way back in the beginning of April, I had a lovely school visit at the Park School in MD where luminary authors Laura Amy Schlitz and Twig George are librarians!

The plastic elephant is one of the toys Rain Dragon swiped from Laura Amy Schlitz (Rain Dragon also took a plastic penguin which she wouldn't unhand for the photo) while we were there. Laura was kind enough to let them be swiped when she saw how attached Rain Dragon was to them. But when Rain Dragon outgrows them, I'll put them on shelf of honor with the books and impress everyone with my touched-by-greatness possessions.

Thanks, Twig & Laura!

Friday, June 6, 2014

fortune cookie friday

"The day your horse dies and your money's lost, your relatives change to strangers."
- Chinese Proverb

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Belated Hong Kong post: Sights to see!

Hong Kong definitely has many great tourist sights. However, for me as a visiting author, the Hong Kong International School had the best things to see!

First, there were the bulletin boards:

a dragon welcome!

an I Spy Grace Lin board! Covered with items mentioned in my books!

papers of happiness! Students wrote what they thought would be on the paper that flew away

this one said smile!

And then there were the lovely students! One girl made a "Dumpling Days" hat which she wore for hat day:

They also made beautiful artwork inspired by my books:

There were also fun contests all over the library:

But perhaps the most awe-inspiring was the book order!  To an author, there is nothing more they'd rather see!
though Rain Dragon was a little frustrated that we wouldn't let her throw the books on the ground.

Thanks for the beautiful sights, HKIS!