It is the strangest thing. I have started writing this post at least six times, and each time I have ended up hitting the delete key. I just can't seem to find words big enough to fit what I have to say. I have put my heart and soul into something, something that has been a dream for as long as I can remember, and that dream has finally come true.
I grew up a reader. I devoured books - books from the library, books purchased through our school's Arrow Book Club (I was allowed $5 an order, and back then that would buy quite a few books), along with the Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books I would get as birthday and Christmas gifts.
Then while homeschooling, my kids and I were immersed in a world of books. If you asked any one of them what their fondest memory of homeschooling is, I have no doubt they would tell you the hours we spent reading together. We laughed and cried our way through so many wonderful stories, stories that have left their mark on each of us. (Note: my children would be quick to point out I was the one doing most of the crying, but I will save that story for another post.) "Just one more chapter, please..." was heard on many an occasion.
For a very long time I have wanted to write a book. I wanted it to be the kind of book my kids and I liked to read on cold winter days when the snow was gently falling outside, and we were all cuddled up together on the couch, lost in the words of a good story. I wanted it to be the kind of book that would elicit that phrase that was the highest praise my kids could bestow on a story. "Just one more chapter, please..."
I'm both excited and terrified to announce I have actually done it. I have written a book, and it is going to be published. Soon. Very soon in fact. I spoke with the publisher yesterday and it should be available for purchase in early October.
Introducing Ting Ting.
The book is being published by Sono Nis, and I have enjoyed every moment of working with the owner, Diane Morriss. She has been wonderful about walking this rookie author through the often confusing world of book publishing.
From the publisher's web page:
Eight-year-old Ting misses her parents, but her comfortable life in China hasn’t changed too much since they both went away to Canada. She’s living with loving relatives who care for her like their own child (even though her cousin is so annoying!). She goes to the same school with the same classes, including boring history and loads of homework. She has the same friends and the same favourites: hawthorn-berry candy and sticky taffy, outings to the park, visits with her grandfather in the country. If only she could be with her parents, life would be perfect!
When Ting is reunited with her parents, it’s not what she hoped for. After the Tiananmen Square disaster, the Chinese government has become suspicious of all students. It isn’t safe for Ting’s parents to come home, so Ting must travel to Canada to be with them. In a matter of days, her whole life is turned upside down. She’s living in a strange country in a tiny, bare apartment, and she sleeps on an old sofa. She doesn’t understand a word at school. Everything is new and puzzling and just plain difficult. She’s even teased about the affectionate name her family calls her: Ting Ting.
But Ting is brave and hardworking and soon graduates from the English-learners’ class. She discovers new favourites: doughnuts, hockey and the red-haired Anne in the book her teacher is reading. She makes a friend and sees a glimmer of hope: to finally belong in this new country a world away from China. But how can she make her parents understand?
Kristie Hammond has crafted a heartwarming tale of a young Chinese immigrant’s step-by-step entry into a new country and new life. Her character’s plucky determination will inspire new and old Canadians alike!
JUVENILE FICTION • Ages 8+ • 208 pp • 5.25 x 7.75 ISBN 978-1-55039-210-4 • paper • $9.95
If you follow this link you will see a "Notify Me" button. If you are interested in ordering a copy you can submit your email and Sono Nis will let you know when the book has been released into the wild. If you order directly from the publisher shipping in Canada and the US is free. Details on ordering from overseas should be available shortly. The book will also be available from Amazon.com.
There's a whole "story behind the story" and I will talk about that in a future post. Also, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comment section.
I would like to close by saying that although the book is classified as juvenile fiction, it truly is a story for all ages. I think that adults will find this story every bit as enjoyable as children, and perhaps even more so. I think C.S. Lewis is right.
"No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally - and often far more - worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond."
Now I am going to take a deep breath and hit the "Publish" button.