New books for the new year.
2020 may not have been the most productive year for many of us but it has done one thing right – it’s helped a lot of new authors find their words and audience. Through the year, we have been impressed by the range of books that have been released by writers (new and well-established), publishers and agents in Hong Kong. We love to promote local talent here on Sassy Mama, so we have rounded up some of the new books to hit the stands this year.
New Books From Hong Kong: For Babies & Toddlers
I Love You, Little Dumpling
Conny Wong of Pepper & Mint found herself facing a dilemma this year: production and distribution of the brand’s handmade shoes slowed down because of the pandemic and she was feeling rather anxious. As part of her healing process, she started writing down a poem she had written for her children, which soon developed into a cute board book for babies. Paying homage to Conny’s Asian roots and favourite foods with adorable pictures of baos and dumplings, this one will give you and your kids all the “fillings”.
This is a book by first-time author, Suchada Webb, written and illustrated from the floor of her son’s playpen in Sai Kung. Jumping Jack follows the adventures of Jack, the frog, as he navigates his way through dangerous threats. This colourful sensory book includes flaps which, when lifted, reveals Jumping Jack’s secret hideouts which save him from the dangers he encounters. Prior to moving to Hong Kong, Suchada was a behaviour therapist for autistic children in Los Angeles, before becoming a flight attendant and travelling the world.
When Gobble Met Nibble
This is a story of a lion who eats too much (Gobble) and a tiny little chick (Nibble). Told in a sweet and relatable way, this book has a message about conscious consumption. You could read it out to your children or let early readers try to read this on their own as well. This book was written by David Mark Stagg, inspired by his own son. A portion of the proceeds will be donated by him to Feeding Hong Kong.
Dot Line Curve
If you’re new to Hong Kong and want to introduce your child to the world of writing in traditional Chinese, this touch and trace book can help (there are also write and wipe cards available). Written by Agnes Wong, it’s aimed at 3 to 5-year-olds but can be used by older children as well, depending on their language proficiency and writing skills.
Price: $150 (book), $80 (cards)
Besides these books, we love Spot the Shop Cat that’s available at G.O.D. stores and Bleak House Books, with its photographs of Hong Kong shop cats, quirky rhymes, illustrations and a 6-page pullout for colouring.
New Books From Hong Kong: For Older Kids (6 to 11 Years)
The Traveling Tales Of Kim & Kelly
This is a book about family and diversity. Kim and Kelly are cousins and despite the geographical distance that separates them, the two girls are close friends. These determined adventurers do what it takes to travel and spend time with each other and their grandparents! First-time author, Karen Mitchell-Sandoval, too has a diverse family and is a proud grandmother to three granddaughters.
COVID-19 and You
A few months ago, when the COVID pandemic shook the world, as a mother and healthcare practitioner, Dr Ardyce Yik wanted to do something to help others. She created an illustrated health book on how to stay healthy during a global pandemic- physically, mentally and emotionally. She chose Hong Kong as the backdrop to celebrate the city’s resilience. 50% of the book proceeds go to two charities that support underprivileged local and immigrant children.
Sparky & Benny’s Big Home Mystery
This book has been written by a mother-daughter duo. Environmental scientist, Janice Lao-Noche and her 10-year-old daughter, Esther (who wants to be a marine veterinarian when she grows up), are tackling the important subject of climate change (as seen through the eyes of two young whales). Net proceeds of the book go to several charities.
Walled City Of Kowloon
This is a children’s book but adults will enjoy it as well. It’s based on author, artist and illustrator Fiona Hawthorne’s real-life experiences in the famous Walled City of Kowloon. The story is about a young female artist who ventures into a place that people consider dangerous. She gets to know the people, draws and paints their everyday lives and finds that the Kowloon Walled City and its people were warm, welcoming, child-friendly and hardworking.
Available for pre-order on Blacksmith Books
COPE: Storm Surges
We love the COPE series of books. These aim to increase the resilience of children by showing how the four protagonists, Candy, Ollie, Ping and Eddy and their guide, Grand Mistress Fu, tackle natural disasters. The series by Hong Kong-based author, Martha Keswick, is part of a not-for-profit project. Each book includes a tie-up with an interested party (often an NGO or educational institute) and is freely available online. Storm Surges is based in the village of Tai O, with illustrations by Mariko Jesse. The book is a collaboration with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute and the Hong Kong Observatory.
Available online here
Staying with the COPE series, look at the one on COVID-19. It was created in three weeks as a rapid response to a request made by UNICEF Asia and Pacific. Verified by medical professionals, it’s worth sharing with your children.
New Books From Hong Kong: For Adults
Dear Hong Kong
This photo book (available in traditional Chinese and English) has been in the making for over a year now. A celebration of the cultural diversity of Hong Kong, it aims to promote understanding and inclusion. It features interviews with people from over 80 countries and tells their stories and experiences of life in Hong Kong. Proceeds will be used for programmes that encourage intercultural dialogues in local schools and nurture a global mindset. Watch out for a second volume covering 150 nationalities.
Australia news anchor, Nicole Webb, who has lived in Hong Kong and then Xi’an before returning to Sydney, has written a memoir of her times in China. With a travel narrative, it also covers the thrill and adventure of discovering a new culture while reinventing and finding your place in a new society. Narrated with humour, it’s a story that anyone who has been an expat in this part of the world will identify with.
Price: $45 AUD or $9.99 USD (Kindle)
52 Thoughts for Conscious Living
This is a great book to begin the new year with 52 thoughts for the 52 weeks ahead in 2021. It has been written by Sonia Samtani, Clinical Hypnotherapist and founder of All About You wellness centre in Hong Kong. Sonia’s book presents deep concepts in an easy-to-read manner. Each thought of the week comes with an exercise to consciously imbibe the concept into your daily life. Through thoughtful reminders and altering habits, we can start to attract and manifest greater success, happiness and well-being.
The Displaced Cookbook
This cookbook by 15-year-old, Chloe Yau, shows us how food can transcend all boundaries. It narrates the stories of refugee chefs from Egypt, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria and Pakistan, while giving us recipes from these unique cuisines. Proceeds go to support Christian Action – Centre for Refugees, a community centre serving asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong.
Price: $25 USD
Mums the world over will identify with UK author Martyna Wiśniewska Michalak’s parody on The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The Very F*cking Tired Mummy is currently being crowdfunded with the help of her Hong Kong-based literary agents.