Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Rock Maiden

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Today we have a special treat!  Author Natasha Yim is blog touring with her brand new book and she has been kind enough to share her writing inspiration with us!

rock maiden

Title: The Rock Maiden – A Chinese Tale of Love And Loyalty

Written By: Natasha Yim

Illustrated By: Pirkko Vainio

Wisdom Tales, March 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: retold legends/folktales, faith, hope

Opening: “There was once a beautiful maiden named Ling Yee.  She lived in Hong Kong, a fishing village on the southern coast of China.  All the young men in the village wanted to marry her.
But Ling Yee loved Ching Yin, a young fisherman.  She was touched by his kindness.  H often helped the old men pull in their boats and haul in their fish.

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home―only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded?”

Links To Resources:  The Rock Maiden is a retelling of an old Hong Kong legend.  What favorite folk tale, legend or other classic tale might you retell?  How would you do it?  Write your own!  Draw a picture that represents a favorite moment in one of your favorite folk tales or legends. The story of  The Rock Maiden explains how a certain rock came to be.  Write a story about how something you know of came to be – a specially shaped rock, like in The Rock Maiden, or a mountain range, or a lake or pond, or an ancient tree…

Special Resource!  A glimpse into inspiration and writing – author Natasha Yim shares her thoughts about how she became inspired to write the story of The Rock Maiden:

“The story of the Rock Maiden has been brewing in my head—and my heart— since my adolescent years growing up in Hong Kong. On occasional weekends, to get away from the bustle of city crowds, my parents would take the family to Sha Tin, a region in the New Territories, an area of Hong Kong that in the 1970s was still rural. We referred to it as our “countryside,” even though it was on the outskirts of a city of six million people.

On these weekend outings, we would often lunch or have afternoon tea at a hotel with an outdoor patio. From the patio, one could get a good view of the Amah Rock, a natural granite rock formation shaped like a woman with a baby on her back. In the lobby of the hotel was a plaque that told her story: how a young woman had lost her fisherman husband at sea and her faithful vigil on top of a hill looking for his return. Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, took pity upon her and turned her into stone so she wouldn’t mourn anymore.

This story captured my adolescent romantic fancy and on every outing to Sha Tin, I would gaze at the Amah Rock wondering what happened to this family. As I grew older, this woman and her baby continued to penetrate my thoughts from time to time. I knew that one day, I’d write her story.

Years later, when I did sit down to write this tale, I was writing for children and imagined it as a picture book. However, I thought it was a bit too sad and depressing as a story for kids to have her end up as a rock on top of a hill. So, I re-envisioned the story with a happier ending.

I created the story about twelve years ago, but it’s had a difficult time finding its way to publication. Many of the rejections I received said it was a lovely tale but too “quiet” or that it doesn’t have a child protagonist or that folk tales are a “hard sell” as standalone picture books.

One of the lessons I’ve learned as a writer is that if a story sinks its teeth into me and won’t let go, I must write it. And two, every story has to have a champion to help it find its way into the world. First, the writer who feels compelled to write it, and then the editor/publisher who feels its voice needs to be heard. For this reason, I am grateful to Wisdom Tales Press for their vision, insights, and support of The Rock Maiden.

I hope children around the world will enjoy the story of the Amah Rock as much as I did as a child.”

Why I Like This Book: I love retellings of classic tales – especially tales I’m unfamiliar with.  This one, though sad for a while, is a story of love, faith and hope.  And in Natasha’s retelling, it has a happy ending in which love overcomes all obstacles.  The art is so beautiful – delicate and stunning – a perfect complement to the story!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

The other stops on Natasha’s blog tour are listed below, in case you are interested in finding out more about Natasha and her wonderful new book!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

MARCH 3: Jeff Barger, NC Teacher Stuff
MARCH 7: Sheryl Hagan-Booth, Booth Talks Books
MARCH 10: Susanna Hill, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog
MARCH 14ReaderKidZ, reviewer Nancy Bo Flood
MARCH 20: MaryAnn Scheuer, Great Kid Books
MARCH 22: Pam Margolis, An Unconventional Librarian
MARCH 28: Stephanie Kammeraad, Mama-Lady-Books

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Goldy Luck And The Three Pandas

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everybody!

Is everyone ready for the Year of the Rooster?  And not just any rooster!  The Year of the Fire Rooster?

The Fire Rooster is characterized by creativity, passion and energy, so I think (hope!) we have a good year ahead!

In celebration of Chinese New Year, I have a terrific book to share.

goldy-luck

Title: Goldy Luck And The Three Pandas

Written By: Natasha Yim

Illustrated By: Grace Zong

Charlesbridge, January 2014, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: retelling of classic tale, holidays (Chinese New Year), taking responsibility

Opening: “When Goldy Luck was born her mother said, “Year of the Golden Dragon – very lucky year.  This child will have good luck.”
“She has a face as round as a gold coin,” said her father.  “This child will bring great wealth.”
But Goldy had neither great wealth or good luck.  In fact, she could never seem to keep money in her piggy bank, and she had a habit of breaking things.”

goldy-luck-1

text copyright Natasha Yim 2014, illustration copyright Grace Zong 2014

Brief Synopsis: Goldy Luck is sent to deliver turnip cakes to the Chan family for Chinese New Year in spite of the fact that she’s sleepy and hasn’t had breakfast yet.  When she arrives, the Chans are not home, so she samples their congee, tries out their chairs, and naps in Little Chan’s bed, leaving chaos in her wake.

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes an author’s note about traditions of Chinese New Year, a diagram and explanation of the Chinese zodiac, and a recipe for turnip cakes; Goldy Luck blog post with activities from 2nd Grade Snickerdoodles

goldy-3

text copyright Natasha Yim 2014, illustration copyright Grace Zong 2014

Why I Like This Book: I love retellings of classic tales, and this is a fun one.  It takes Goldilocks and the Three Bears to China to celebrate Chinese New Year 🙂  Although the story follows the basic format of the original, it departs after the Chans (panda bears in this version :)) come home.  Goldy initially runs away (as she does in the original story) but her conscience gets the better of her and she decides to take responsibility for her actions and returns to the Chans’s home to help tidy up.  The ending makes for a big improvement over the original 🙂  And I love that so much back matter is included, making it so easy to expand on the use of the book.  The art is bright and engaging, ending with a sweet picture of Goldy and Little Chan sharing turnip cake, the rug underneath them a depiction of the Chinese zodiac 🙂

goldy-2

text copyright Natasha Yim 2014, illustration copyright Grace Zong 2014

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂