I took a break earlier this year from school visits and other kinds of appearances in order to work on some other projects. Yesterday, I visited Little Skool House at Tampines Junction, and I was reminded how much I enjoy these visits! The school was having a Book Week, with a special focus on local authors. As I entered the school, characters from local children's books were hanging from the ceiling... Other than Stacey and Maxilla, I saw Bo Bo and Cha Cha, and also Rusty Horse from Emily Lim's The Tale of Rusty Horse.
I had told the school I would be reading Stacey Goes to the National Museum to the children. This is the first title of the Stacey & the Museums series and it's been on my mind lately because there've been talks about doing a second edition for this title.
Since the title was published in 2014, the National Museum has revamped their display. What has changed in the museum? A few things. For one, there is no more PLAY @ NMS, so the ending is outdated. However, it doesn't change the story much.
The paintings from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings are never displayed in their entirety, so it's anyone's guess what you will actually see.
The gibbon, the main character of the book based on an actual painting from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings, has never been on display at the National Museum, but I've learned that it has never mattered to the children. It is more important the role the gibbon plays and whether the playful attribute suits the animal. (A print of the gibbon painting has been spotted at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, to the excitement of some of my readers!)
All the artefacts mentioned in this title were selected because of their importance to Singapore's history, and have some permanent status in the museum.
So what would I actually need to change without affecting the integrity of the story? I'm still thinking about it.
Anyway, back to the school visit! Will you take a look at this beautiful backdrop one of the teachers painted??
After the storytelling and quiz segment, I shared with the children how this book came about. The school is getting the children to make their own books, so they children were interested to know about the roles of the author and the illustrator, and the various stages of making a book. I always get a kick out of showing them the Stacey and gibbon prototypes that James initially drew and asking them to spot the true Stacey and gibbon. That's when I really see their minds ticking, as they realise they are in full control of the characters they create.
At the end of the session, they gifted me with a beautiful painting and note. This is hands down one of the best gifts I have ever received as an author!
Inspired to update my book now! :)
(Some images in this post courtesy of Little Skool House @ Tampines Junction. Permission given to post the picture with the two children.)