I am so glad to introduce this wonderful series of children’s books by my primary school chum, Melanie Lee, the author of Imaginary Friends! Yay! It’s so great to see brilliant work from local Singaporean authors!
This book series revolves around Squirky, a little blue alien from Planet Q who is living on Earth with his parents and sister Emma. In the first book, ‘Why Am I Blue?’, Squirky realises for the first time that he is different from the rest of his family, and his parents reveal to him that he is adopted.
The book deals very sensitively with the concept of adoption which is a subject very close to Melanie’s heart and provides a great springboard for discussion. I imagine that the books will be invaluable to adoptive parents who are looking for ways to gently and openly talk to their children about the subject. Melanie also includes links to useful resources about adoption as well as a very helpful FAQ at the back of ‘Why Am I Blue’ about the issues surrounding adoption which I found very informative. After reading the FAQ, I have a better understanding of the struggles and fears that adoptive parents go through when broaching the subject with their young ones, and I hope that I can be a better support to my friends who have adopted children.
I was very surprised to find that both J and Little E identify very strongly with Squirky, as (coming from an interracial background) they already know that they are different from the people around them. When they look in the mirror, they are both very aware that their outward appearances are different from that of their classmates. This is something that Squirky has to deal with in ‘Why Am I Blue?’ and he learns that being different makes him unique, and that he is not alone in the world when he is surrounded by a family who loves him.
J and Little E were also intrigued by Squirky’s story, which bears many similarities to that of DC Comic’s Superman (whom both of them are familiar with).
When Book #2 of the Squirky adventure series was released, J became very excited and could not wait to get home to read it to Little E! They were both captivated by the beautiful illustrations by local artist David Liew, especially his depiction of the beautiful and sad Queen Stella.
In ‘What Happened To Planet Q?’, Squirky’s loving parents support his decision to search for his birth parents and find out more about his origins, so with the help of his sister Emma, he leaves his home on an exciting space adventure in the second book.
The theme of this book is on the concept of honesty and openness in communication which is something that I am currently trying to impress upon my children. The truth is oftentimes hard and painful, and the reaction you may get from telling the truth may be unpleasant, and this is something that Queen Stella experiences when talking to Squirky. However, lying through omission can be even more hurtful!
In ‘Who Is the Red Commander?’, Squirky and Emma land in the hostile environment of Planet R and bravely persist in their quest to find out about what happened to the inhabitants of his home Planet Q, meeting the mysterious and unfriendly Red Commander. In this book, both Squirky and Red Commander learns that facing one’s fears head-on can lead to forgiveness, personal growth and strength.
I really appreciate the way that Melanie weaves difficult concepts and themes into all the books, providing many opportunities for discussion with my kids – and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the rest of the series!
(By the way, Melanie and the book series illustrator David Liew will be at Kinokuniya at Ngee Ann City on Saturday 14th March 2015 at 3:30pm and at Books Kinokuniya at Jurong Store on Saturday 22nd March 2015 at 2:00pm for the launch of Book #3 of the Squirky series! They will be conducting a storytelling session as well as some really fun art-and-craft activities for the little ones, so do hop on down and check it out. More details here.)
A Surprise for Owls Well Readers: MPH Bookstores Singapore is very generously sponsoring a full set (Books #1-3) of The Adventures of Squirky The Alien by Melanie Lee to TWO lucky Owls Well Readers! Woohoohoo!
To take part in this giveaway, just complete the following:
1. Be a fan of the Owls Well Facebook Page
2. Be a fan of The Adventures of Squirky the Alien Facebook Page
3. Leave a comment below telling me about a book series that you or your kids are currently enjoying and why you think everyone should read it. Don’t forget to leave your Facebook name and your email address so that I can contact you if you win – or if you’re really shy, you can email your details to me separately at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. (Optional) To double your chances of winning, share or reblog this giveaway on any form of social media that you fancy and leave a comment below with the link!
(This giveaway is open to people with a Singapore mailing address and ends on 17 March 2015. Winners will be picked via Random.org – just make sure you complete the 3 required steps!)
Update: This giveaway is now closed and the winners have been contacted by email. Thanks for playing!