We are very excited to welcome yet another author to our Multicultural Children’s Book Day Spotlight: Shining the Light on Inclusive Authors & Illustrators series! Today we are welcoming author Natasha Yim. Her latest book with Charlesbridge is Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas.
Natasha is a children’s author, freelance writer and playwright. Her 1st picture book, Otto’s Rainy Day was published by Charlesbridge Publishing and her picture book biographies, Cixi, The Dragon Empress and Sacajawea of the Shoshone was released by Goosebottom Books in Oct. 2011 and 2012 respectively. She has written for the children’s magazines, Highlights for Children, Appleseeds, and Faces, as well as adult magazines, Vibrant Life and Mendocino Arts. Her multicultural picture book, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas will be published in Jan. 2014 by Charlesbridge Publishing.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a favorite fairy tale set in a bustling contemporary Chinatown.
One Chinese New Year, Goldy Luck’s mother asks her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy from trying out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds—with disastrous results.
In this funny and festive retelling, Natasha Yim and Grace Zong introduce a plucky heroine who takes responsibility for her actions and makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!), just in time for Chinese New Year.
Includes back matter about Chinese New Year and a recipe for turnip cakes.
This book is good for your brain because it provides:
Representation of the cultural traditions and rituals for Chinese New Year, an accurate depiction of a contemporary Chinatown setting, a familiar storyline
Question 1: What is your favorite letter of the alphabet and why?
I think S is such a versatile letter. It can be a soft sound as in “sssss” like a snake’s hiss or put a consonant next to it and it becomes harsher like “stuck” and “stoop” as if you’re trying to push something through your lips. The letter just dances on your tongue, and forms so many fun verbs such as “sashay”, “swagger”, “swirl”, “swoop.”
Question 2: What do you want readers to know about your latest book?
That it took 9 years to get to publication. It’s important to have passion for what you do, and to believe in your work and your creative process. Sometimes it takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and hard work to achieve what you want but it’s all worth it. One of my favorite quotes is by Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Books don’t get published by collecting dust in a drawer, you have to face rejections and criticism and get it out there. And you have to keep working on your craft and making your story the best it can be.
Question 3: As an author, how do you know when you have discovered an idea for your next book?
I never really know when I get an idea what it’ll turn out to be. I get ideas all the time, some of them make a temporary stop in my head on their way to some far off destination, and I have more ideas than I have time to write. The ideas that form the seed for a book though, are the ones that really grab on and take hold, and won’t let go. They root themselves and start to sprout branches from which grow characters, settings, plot, dialogue. And they begin to permeate my thoughts constantly. When I find myself talking to myself in the grocery line or missing my turn or exit when I’m driving because I’m mapping out what happens to my character next, that’s when I know the seed has been sown.
Question 4: What was the catalyst for creating your latest book?
My latest book, GOLDY LUCK AND THE THREE PANDAS is a multicultural retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There were two catalysts that launched this story: One was attending a writer’s conference and hearing the term “fractured fairytales” for the first time. The idea intrigued me, and I wanted to rewrite a fairytale from a different perspective. The other, was the ending of the original Goldilocks story in which Goldilocks wreaks havoc in the bears’ home, then runs away never to be heard from again. What kind of message was this giving kids? I wanted to write a story with a more satisfying ending. The multicultural aspect came in layers. First, it was deciding to make Goldilocks Chinese and wanting the book to introduce kids to some rituals and traditions of the Chinese culture. Second, as a means to that end, I chose to set the story during Chinese New Year. Festivals are so lively and colorful and so rich with cultural influences, I thought it would be a great venue to present Chinese culture and traditions and would lend itself to terrific illustrations.
To learn more about Natasha and her books, visit her Facebook page HERE.
More books by Natasha Yim: