Friday, March 20, 2020

Homeschool tools for Young Readers

Stay safe in these uncertain days.

The world has changed in just a few weeks and everything we have taken for granted has now been put on hold. Support our first responders and medical professionals who are on the front lines of treating patients.

In the meantime, for all you parents at home with children... good luck keeping them occupied!

With schools and libraries closed, it is a challenge  for mothers and fatthers to homeschool in this era of instant distractions by phone, tablet, and computer.

Still sharing a good storybook is the way for children to stoke their imaginations and learn something new at the same time.

To help in this endeavor, we offer some free and fun goodies for your families.

Coloring Pages
For most of our stories, we offer free coloring pages (which we often provide at our book events). Download them from our gallery, open them up in Adobe Acrobat Reader, and print them out.

Activity Sheets
We also have curriculum guides for some of our stories and series. Now that parents are teachers, feel free to share these brief and engaging activity sheets with your kids. Lesson plan packets have:
  • A page of questions encouraging readers to think about how the story relates to their lives
  • Word Search
  • Mini-Crossword Puzzle
  • Maze
  • and maybe more!
Staying in place and social distancing will be an ongoing challenge. We have been pushed off the starting line in a marathon we've never run before. But books will always be there to help us, now more than ever. Reading is a way to keep ourselves both occupied and mentally engaged.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Discovery of Anime and Manga - on Kickstarter!

We're returning to the blogosphere after a "brief" announce the 3rd adventure in our series The Asian Hall of Fame, which explores cool inventions from Asia.
 The Discovery of Fireworks and Gunpowder

The first was The Discovery of Ramen in 2017.

Then the co-authors Phil Amara and Oliver Chin teamed up again with the illustrator Juan Calle and graphic designer Joy Liu on the sequel in 2018: The Discovery of Fireworks and Gunpowder.

Now in 2019, we came up with another fantastic idea. This time we're going back to Japan to see how Japanese animation and comics were created.

The Discovery of Anime and Manga launched on Kickstarter this week. Check it out in the next month and let us know what you think!

The Discovery of Anime and Manga
Our terrific trio of the guide Dao (a cute red panda) and the kids Emma and Ethan have perfected time-travel tourism.

They teleport into the past and reappear in the land of the rising sun... hundreds of years ago. Then they zip through the decades to see how art and media advanced together to produce manga and anime.

Along the way, we see have anime and manga, intertwined like two strands of DNA, evolve together to entertain and educate the public. From newspapers and books to magazines and comics. From film and TV to home video and internet streaming. Fans become "otaku" across the seven seas.

Meanwhile some creators became "gods" as their characters became even more famous around the world!

Check out our crowdfunding campaign. Backers can pre-order an autographed copy and get amazing rewards!

As always, thanks for your support.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Discovery of Ramen on Kickstarter
Greetings! Today we launched a Kickstarter campaign for our new book idea The Discovery of Ramen.

Hopefully this will be the first adventure in an ongoing series called The Asian Hall of Fame.

The kids Emma and Ethan see something that piques their curiosity. Lucky for them...POOF! Out of a cloud of smoke comes a cute red panda! Dao can show them how that cool thing was invented in Asia. Dao can guide them back into time and place and bring them to where it all began.

The first journey is about ramen!

There has never been a U.S. children's book about ramen.

We intend to remedy that oversight. Ramen is more popular than ever and millions of people love eating it around the world.

So we hope those ramen lovers will learn about our book idea and support it on Kickstarter.

The tale of ramen starts in Japan in the 1800s. From there, Dao leads Emma and Ethan across the country to explore how these noodles became special. Together they visit restaurants, factories, and museums.

Then they zip through the decades, into outer space and back to America, where ramen mania has gripped the West!

Co-authors Phil Amara (The Treehouse Heroes) and Oliver Chin (Julie Black Belt) unite with artist Juan Calle (Good Dream, Bad Dream) to create a journey that blends travel, history, culture, food, and fun!

We have a special combo of rewards for our Kickstarter backers. So check out our project and we appreciate your support.  With your help, we'll all enjoy fantastic storybook which can be a great gift to give for the upcoming holiday season.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The rooster has landed

Just in time for the holidays, our new adventure The Year of the Rooster has arrived!

This is the 12th and final adventure in our annual series Tales from the Chinese Zodiac.

Ray is a young chick who has a bundle of energy! He and his friend, the girl Ying, embark on an incredible journey to find a mysterious and magical creature. But can Ray discover his own calling along the way?

The fantastic art is by Juan Calle, who created our recent superhero story Good Dream, Bad Dream.

The Rooster, like 2016's The Year of the Monkey, features a bilingual translation in simplified Chinese.

Good news! Barnes & Noble bookstores nationwide will sell The Year of the Rooster in their Chinese New Year displays in their children's sections in January 2017.

Also select Costco and Hallmark stores will carry our book to the delight of lucky shoppers.

Ray looks forward to flying into your hearts!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May = Asian Pacific American heritage month

Boy Dumplings: A Tasty Chinese TaleIt's that time of year again, when both the USA and Canada commemorate the cultures and contributions of their Asian citizenry. Hooray!

We have 5 new Asian themed stories to share with you this season. We've reprinted children's books authored by Ying Chang Compestine and have redesigned them with new bilingual translations in simplified Chinese.

1) Boy Dumplings: A Tasty Chinese Tale
- illustrated by James Yamasaki

Set in old Beijing, this fun-filled romp follows the travails of a hungry ghost. Perchance he stumbles upon a boy who looks good enough to eat! However, the clever child convinces the ghost to delay his easy meal and instead make the more delicious (but more complicated) recipe of "boy dumplings." then there are 4 stories in our series Amazing Chinese Inventions
- illustrated by YongSheng Xuan

The three Kang brothers, Ting, Pan, and Kùai, always seem to get themselves in a pickle. But using their wits and resources, they produce some of the world's greatest creations!

"Xuan’s colourful illustrations with their thick, bold outlines are eye-catching"
- CM magazine

a) The Story of Chopsticks 

The youngest child, Kùai never got enough to eat. Maybe he can he grab food right off the over, when it is too hot for others to touch...but how? Soon the entire Kang family is eating with sticks. But should the boys bring them to a big wedding banquet?
b) The Story of Noodles

It's time for Mama Kang to win the annual cooking contest. But when she leaves her three sons to oversee making her dumpling wrappers, look out!

Boiled strips of dough end up everywhere! Hmmm, but they do taste good. With no time to waste, the Kangs submit a new dish to the judges.

What will everyone think about their entry of... noodles? The Story of Kites

Protecting the rice during the harvest is a full-time job! Whew!  Shooing hungry birds from their fields never stops. Ting, Pan, and Kùai wonder if there is a better way.

Perhaps they can figure out a way to fly in the sky and beat these birds at their own game. They do have some materials handy.

Ouch! Flying themselves may be out of the question. But maybe they can launch something else! The Story of Paper 

These Kang boys need to pay more attention at school! So their teacher writes messages on their hands to show their parents. How embarassing!

If only their teacher could write on something else.

The brothers brainstorm and come up with an idea that may result in what becomes an indispensable school supply!


Enjoy these tall tales and another month of celebrating Asian themes and adventures!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy Holidays from Max the Monkey

Everyone's heard of the Monkey King right? 

The Journey to the West has inspired countless adaptations across the centuries. As legend has it, Wu Cheng'en wrote this Chinese novel during the 16th century's Ming dynasty. Later the story became renowned as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. The others are Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Dream of the Red Chamber.

Modern versions of Journey to the West include the popular manga and anime Dragon Ball Z, created by Japan's prolific comics artist Akira Toriyama in 1984 As a little child, Goku starts off with a nice brown tail... but then it gets cut off! Ouch! A nice cartoon version of a boy's timeless rite of passage into adulthood, wouldn't you say? As a small consolation, at least in the future Goku gains a power that would put Clairol and many hairdressers out of business - our spiky headed hero enjoys free and instant hair coloring when he goes Super Saiyan.

In 2008, Hollywood was inspired. Lion's Gate got the bug with its Hong Kong flavored flick The Forbidden Kingdom. Here martial arts maven Jet Li transforms into old furry face himself to square off against the drunken master Jackie Chan. It's sort of the Asian cinematic equivalent of the Street Fighter IV but with better actors than Kylie Minogue and Jean Claude Van Damme.

In 2013 Kung Fu Hustle's Stephen Chow directed (but not starred) in a film aptly title Journey to the West. Therein the Buddhist hero undertakes the famed adventure by protecting a town from demons, falling in love with another fetching fighter, and searching for the fabled Mon-king.

Naturally, given the homegrown subject matter, this movie earned the most of any film in  China in its first day (beating the Transformers: Dark of the Moon only to be bested by the Transformer's even more boffo sequel Age of Extinction in 2014). Soon Chow's Journey became the highest grossing Chinese-language motion picture ever. Poor Wu Cheng'en. If he only had Walt Disney's lawyers, then he'd still be earning royalties.

Here is our first copy hot off the presses, nicely couched in the heavens.
Our first copy hot off the presses, nicely couched in the heavens.
Now what room in the world is left to say or show anything about the mythic Monkey King?

Well, we knew the upcoming turn of the calendar into 2016 (February 8th to be exact) would herald The Year of the Monkey.

What better way to commemorate this tradition (which has been celebrated for millennia) than to create a brand new character?


Max is the son of the legendary Monkey King and Monkey Queen!

Sure this tyke has a lot to live up to (don't we all)...but even the sky is the limit for Max! But like kids everywhere, Max is learning how to well as squeezing in as much fun as possible!

Amazingly illustrated by the DreamWorks animator Kenji Ono, The Year of the Monkey will inspire readers to fly high! We look forward to sharing this fabulous new 11th adventure in our series Tales from the Chinese Zodiac in the coming year.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May is Asian Heritage Month

Well it's that time of year again, when the USA commemorates the contributes of Asian Americans.

The official commemoration was officially designated three decades ago by President Jimmy Carter (later the entire month of May by President George H. Bush). However, Asian voices still strain to be heard and recognized on a national level. 

A case in point is how President Obama won't even attend the "White House summit" on Asian Pacific American Islanders (AAPI) held in Washington DC this week, as reported by the Daily Beast.

We still live in an era of mixed signals, and where society seems to take one step forward and then drift one step back.

Yet, we firmly believe that sharing children stories is a great way to instill not only understanding cultural differences but also appreciating them.

Sora and the Cloud
Kids (as opposed to ossified adults) have a awe-inspiring capacity to soak in new experiences and resiliency to redefine their view of the world. It is no coincidence that polls regularly note how younger generations of voters have become more tolerant of social issues that have inflamed, divided, and bedeviled their elders.

Since 2006, we've been dedicating to publish more new Asian American authors, artists, and characters. These include:
All told, more than 1/3 (of our nearly 40 books) features Asian American themes.

Diversity in publishing is vital because it reflects the variety of real life. Maybe more interestingly, it is even more important since it underscores how we as a community need to learn from each other and develop bonds for a greater good.