Who doesn't love a cute book for three to eight-year-olds? I know that one of my favorite things to do as a grandmother is to cuddle up with them and read a book or two. I'm not sure who gets more out of reading together, but one thing for certain, it is fun and provides quality time. As a retired educator with a Ph.D., I know the importance of reading to and with children. The fun part is when you come across a book that is so captivating, well-written, has a message, and gorgeous illustrations and that is exactly what I found in "Mya the Mermaid" written by Helen G. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to my newest author.
MYA THE MERMAID
Tell your readers a little about yourself -- where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I was born in Penang, Malaysia but grew up in Sunny Singapore, from one island to another island country. Currently, I reside in Singapore with my three active children. I earned a Master of Science in marketing, a postgraduate diploma in Education, and a degree in psychology. Love of learning has always been my passion in life.
What inspired you to write this book?
My children are my inspiration. I have always wanted to write a book, and because I love the charming and inspirational side of children storybooks, I decided to dedicate a book each to my three children and my nephew. I wanted to keep true to their characters and yet, integrate certain life lessons in the stories. On top of that and most importantly, I wanted to show them that as long as you put your heart into it, you can achieve anything (well, most things! :D).
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
Mya the Mermaid loves to sing, so the cover is most appropriate. We have always called our daughter the singing baby from the time she was a baby! She loves the cover!
Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?
Personally, I have to say my parents and my husband have been my main pillars of support. Their faith in me allowed me to venture into writing, amidst many other commitments.
In regard to writing, I have always loved literature. Believe it or not, William Shakespeare is one of my most favorite writers of all times! There’s so much to learn in his literary works -- they give us so much insight into the cultures and societies, historical events and even how characters and their nuances are perceived in those times. His works are full of passion, full of elements that we as readers are passionate to discuss. His contribution to the literary world is timeless.
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
Due to my work and family commitments, “Mya the Mermaid” project was shelved for almost a year. On top of that, I am quite a detailed person, so Celine, my illustrator was very patient with me while we worked on how to best represent the story. I am so glad to finally place it out there in the literary world.
Tell your readers about your book.
Mya the Mermaid is about embracing diversities and the kindness of those who helped her realize her dreams. She was able to run along the shore, travel the world, and play with other children because she met kind, helpful people everywhere she went. Mya also realized that no matter where she went, children of the world with different customs, cultures, and beliefs are ultimately, the same -- and she was enchanted.
I wanted to depict a world free of prejudice and discrimination, full of dreams and hopefully, inspire young readers to grow up with a healthy, positive mindset and the determination to fulfill their dreams.
Who is your target audience, and why?
Three to eight-years-olds are my main target audience; or anyone who loves a feel-good, charming story.
If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?
I always believe that books are meant to open up our mind and horizon. By vicariously going through the adventures with Mya the Mermaid, I hope its positivity and its messages can reach our young readers and inspire a better world “tomorrow.”
At the same time, parenting journey can be quite a challenge. I hope this can be a tool for parents to bond with their children, so I included a discussion page at the end of the book. Hopefully, we can bring up positive-minded, great attitude, children with grown mindset together!
You have a second book that you published at the same time as the first. Tell me about that book.
Ayden the Astronaut is dedicated to my youngest son. It’s about an astronaut boy Ayden who lives on the moon with his family and friends. His grandparents moved to the moon many years ago because they felt that Earth was so badly polluted that it was no longer feasible to live there. Burning with curiosity, he set off for Earth with his friends.
As a parent, I want a habitable world for the world’s children, say, fifty years from now. This book calls for our attention to the effects of real global issues such as global warming and pollution. I also hope it can be a fun book to read and enjoy!
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
I don’t really have a specific example. I would have to say my determination to fulfill my goals. The recent launch of my picture books are also personally, one of my own goals.
Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours, and how they make you the person you are today.
I think with the passing of some friends and family members; it made me realize that we should not take things for granted. It also fueled my determination to finish my list of important things to do, and that is to share positivity and do something for children of the world. Consequently, I also try not to look back and regret anything that I’ve done.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
My end goal was not to publish one or two children’s picture books. I hope to connect with parents and educators and hopefully build a community of people who are willing to work towards a common goal together -- bringing up positive-minded children in a world worth inhabiting in the future free of harmful pollutants and filled with hope.
Currently, I am also launching a website www.helengauthor/resources that provides free printables of parenting and educational materials in cute infographic format as well as a Youtube channel which will also share similar materials in a fun and visual manner! The Youtube channel and the website will be launched on the 1st October 2019.