Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 15, 2022

Book Giveaway: BEST KIND OF MOON CAKE by Pearl AuYeung

Pearl AuYeung has written and illutrated her first picture book, BEST KIND OF MOON CAKE. It is published by Page Street Kids and they have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Pearl.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Once upon a morning in Hong Kong, in the alley of Tai Yuen Street, a girl is promised a mooncake with a double-yolk center―the best kind!

The special mooncake seems like the only excitement on an otherwise boring day in the market where nothing changes… until an exhausted stranger falls to his knees right in the street! He ran through forests, swam through rivers, and even stowed away on a ship, all to get to Hong Kong. Now at the end of his journey, all he needs is a bite to eat, but no one seems willing to help―not even the girl, if it means giving up her prized treat.

The girl’s ultimate decision has surprising, far-reaching consequences in this mostly true story that reminds us that even the smallest acts of kindness hold the power to change lives, for the giver as much as the receiver.

BOOK JOURNEY:

There’s this older man who sells snake soup behind my grandma’s pajama stall. He always makes fun of my weight and teases me about all sorts of things whenever I visit her in Tai Yuen street– My grandmother always scolds him mercilessly for the things he says to me. One time at the age of 15 or so, when I felt like I was at my wit’s end with his relentless teasing, my grandma told me a new story. Not the bitter story of Japanese soldiers attacking her… a story that she had repeated over and over for as long as I’ve known her… But she told the story of when this mean little man first came to Hong Kong, came to her pajama stall hungry and desperate and how she gave him a mooncake. Whenever we retold this story to my friends and cousins, the part where he swallows the mooncake in one bite was always the point where people would laugh out loud. You see, a mooncake is extremely dense, carb heavy, and rather dry. Nobody ever eats a mooncake in one bite.

In my final year at RISD, I took a course called Picture and Word, taught by Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges and April Prince. These lovely professors gave me the tools and guidance to bring my little family story into reality as a children’s book. I started avidly consuming and collecting picture books, learning from others and testing out writing styles and drawing techniques. We pushed out a new manuscript and sample final spread bi-weekly. During one of those weeks, I created “The Best Kind of Mooncake”. It was titled “Once Upon a Time in Lee Tung Street” then. Publishers were invited to our final crit session and I pitched my story that day. Page Street Kids reached out with a fabulous offer and the rest is… written in the paragraphs below. 

Reality set in that my story was going to be more than just a college project. This was going to be a real book! As a person labeled as a minority in America, I was hyper aware of the stereotypes and challenges I would face in a white-dominated publishing industry. I was telling a story set in colonial Hong Kong in the language of a country which seems to pray for the downfall of my country and therefore my people. I felt like there was a lot riding on my shoulders and felt immense pressure to represent my family’s story and culture as accurately as I could  without falling into normalized racist cliches.

I tortured myself with all of the what-ifs, tinkered with the colour palette, character design and details in the drawings of the marketplace. I started
with a red and yellow dominated palette, but then felt it was overused in both the resurgence of the Wong Kar Wai film style and Yellow Peril propaganda art. So I chose all new colours, avoiding cadmium red and bright yellow entirely.

But then a professor assigned the connection of chopsticks to the curly typeface I had chosen and I broke down with the realization that it didn’t matter how hard I tried to battle the stereotypes– they were going to be placed upon me and my work anyway because of the location my story took place in and my last name. I realized from there that it’s not all on me, all on this one book, to change the way people viewed Chinese stories and Chinese people. I would just do my best.

I worked on “The Best Kind of Mooncake” while I finished my final semester of school, applied for jobs, moved across the country, started my job as a toy designer at Mattel and transitioned into adulthood. It was really difficult to balance my work with… my work. And enjoy life while doing so!
In the end, I really just wanted to tell a fun story and share Chinese history with whoever could get their hands on my book. It was a large team effort with going back and forth to clean up my manuscript, tighten the illustrations and fact check all the little details in my story.

I was flagged for the goose restaurant in the marketplace for its inaccurate location on Tai Yuen Street since it’s the name of a real restaurant in Hong Kong. Luckily for me, it’s my maternal grandpa’s restaurant and I was legally allowed to include its likeness. I’m incredibly grateful to my professors at RISD for their support and to Page Street for giving me the opportunity to share this story with the world. Mostly, I’m thankful to my family for sharing this story with me, for giving me the life I have and for their incredible love which I hope is reflected in my book.

PEARL’S BIO:

Pearl Au-Yeung (“Ow-Yerng”), an author/illustrator  from Hong Kong but raised in Shanghai, now based in the USA. She graduated Magna cum laude from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI with  BFA in illustration.

Pearl is a passionate and conceptual thinker who aims to use illustration as a means to communicate meaningful narratives in an approachable way. With her international background living in parts of Asia and North America, Pearl strives to draw upon past experiences to combine aesthetics with conceptual thought.

While writing and illustrating children’s book, she is working for Mattel, Inc. as Associate Product Designer in Los Angeles
She will be featured on Illustrator Saturday later this month. So please check back to see all her creative work.

Pearl is represented by Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literacy. Please contact her at  kelly@andreabrownlit.com for book illustration enquiries. Click to open resume

The seal on the upper left of my website means “pearl” and was done by PeiLing Tsai

Pearl, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Your illustrations are eye popping. I loved reading your journey with the book and how you wanted to share this family story with the world. Most of all thank you for being so honest with your hopes and fears while working on the book and the heavy burden of making sure you depicted your Chinese heritage honestly, without racist cliches and sterotypes. I’m thankful you had the opportunity to meet Page Street Kids while at RISD which lead to this book. I look forward to reading and enjoying many more wonderful stories and books from you in the future. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Pearl what an interesting family story. I love the Moon Cake Tradition. Look forward to reading this book. Good luck with your career. Will post on FB and Twitter.

    Like

  2. Pearl’s story is so heartwarming, and I can’t wait to read her book. The illustrations and page designs are beautiful. I took our daughter to Chinese school every Saturday throughout her school years, and the children loved the mooncake celebration each year. Congratulations from one PSK author-illustrator to another! I subscribe to this blog and shared this post on Twitter.

    Like

  3. I enjoy reading books set in foreign countries and learning new things about other cultures. I’m excited to read this one–I’ve never eaten a mooncake before. I have research to do! I’m an email subscriber and shared on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and tumblr.

    Like


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