Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Asian Festival of Children's Content 2016 by Tina Cho

My first ever writing conference happened in Singapore at the Asian Festival of Children's Content May 25-29th. I was only able to attend May 24th - May 25th because my other job is a teacher at an international school. 

The AFCC is "an annual festival in Singapore that celebrates and promotes the creation and appreciation of children's books and content, with a focus on Asian themes." 

May 24th was the awards ceremony for the Scholastic Asian Book Awards in which my novel manuscript was shortlisted and won 1st Runner Up. I was honored to shake the hand of Singapore's Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Education. And I was even more honored that the renowned U.S. historian and author Leonard Marcus was the chief judge who read my story! 
Me, Leonard Marcus
Sessions I attended and a blurb about each:
  • From Comics, Graphic Novels, and Picture Books to Fusion Texts by Dr. Janet Evans: She explored books that entwine elements of the three mentioned genres into a fusion book which allows controversial texts for younger children. Ex. The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman

  • On Translation by Cathy Hirano: An excellent session by an American who has lived in Japan for many years and translates books. She explained why translated stories are crucial to understanding culture and why translated books are needed. She also explained issues in translation. I'll blog about this more later.

  • The Editors Are Your Best Friend Panel Discussion: Sarah Odedina (Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press and editor of Harry Potter books England), Daphne Lee (editor Scholastic Asia), Andrea Pasion-Flores (agent Jacaranda Agency Philippines): This panel discussed all things editing--what drew you to editing, publication process, what are you looking for. Perhaps more later in a blog post.

  • What Makes a Book Award Worthy: Leonard Marcus (U.S.), Dr. Murti Bunanta (Indonesia), and Deborah Ahenkorah (Ghana): Compared Newbery/Caldecott with Africa's Baobab Award and more. I'll definitely blog more about this one with criteria that make an award-winning book!

  • Tackling Novel Revision by Holly Thompson (Japan SCBWI R.A.) She shared her tips for revising your novel.

Cynthia Leitich Smith (L), Holly Thompson (middle), Andrea Pasion-Flores (Rt)
  • First Pages Critique: I was brave and submitted 100 words of a picture book manuscript. It was so fun to hear Australian author Christopher Cheng read my words out loud with his wonderful accent. And the popular Cynthia Leitich Smith (U.S. author) and Holly Thompson (Japan SCBWI R.A.) and Andrea Pasion-Flores (agent Jacaranda Philippines) critiqued it live. 

I'm so glad I went but hated having to leave early. Like everyone says, attending a conference is so wonderful with the connections you make and book deals you walk away with! (Yes, Scholastic Asia wants to publish my novel.) 


  1. Excited to hear more about this conference, AUTHOR Tina!!!! Congrats on your amazing news.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I'm excited to share about the conference.

  2. So excited for you Tina. Coincidentally, just borrowed Holly Thompson's picture book "The Wakame Gatherers" from my library!

    1. Oh, how neat. I've read that book, too. She has a new novel out as well.

  3. What Great news!!! Congratulations Tina - I can't wait to read more about What makes books award worthy! This conference sounds amazing with so many wonderful perspectives!

    1. I'll be sharing that blog post on award winning books in a couple wks!

  4. YAY! Tina.
    I didn't know about your huge honor.
    This is so wonderful & I agree about Mr. Marcus.

    Will appreciate all your follow-up articles on aspects from
    this conference.

    It sounds as if in the brief hours you had there, you gleaned
    so much. Perhaps more laser-focused, knowing your time limit?

    This is wonderful sharing.
    I am so happy for all the connections you made & the recognition
    your work received there, in the live critique, too.


    1. Thank you, Jan! Yes, I had to use my time wisely!

  5. Congrats on all fronts! Sounds like you're making a well-earned splash! Very exciting!

  6. So glad you were able to go, Tina. Congratulations to you!

  7. Oh, those are the BEST kinds of conferences, Tina! Congratulations!

  8. Tina - it sounds like your first conference was fabulous!
    Here's to many more.

  9. Tina, I'm so glad you got to attend such a terrific event! Huge congrats on your award and book deal. I'll look forward to hearing more in your future blog posts.