Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 13, 2022

Book Giveaway: HOW WE SAY I LOVE YOU by Nicole Chen

Nicole Chen has written a new picture book, HOW WE SAY I LOVE YOU, illustrated by Lenny Wen and published by Knopf Books. 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 Nicole and Lenny.

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!


In this heartwarming picture book, an Asian American girl shares how her family expresses their love for one another through actions rather than words.

How do you tell your family that you love them? For Hana, love is all around her: Mom stirs love into a steaming pot of xifan. Dad cheers with love at her soccer game. Hana says good night with love by rubbing her grandma’s feet and pouring her grandpa his sleepy tea. And as the light fades, Hana’s parents tuck her into bed and give her a good night kiss.

So many families express their love in all they do for one another, every day. Here is a book that wraps you in a hug and invites your family to share their own special ways of showing love.


My journey to HOW WE SAY I LOVE YOU, and into kidlit in general, started in 2018 when I decided I needed to take a break from my intense day job work in tech. I’d had a child about two years before that, and I felt a strong urge to pause for a moment so I could find that inner creative spark again, to do something just for me. I’d been collecting picture books for years, even before I had a child, and I discovered that an online class was about to start at Storyteller Academy, where I could learn about the world of writing and illustrating picture books. So I signed up.

The rest is history! I had so much fun learning about how to write for kids, how to marry words and pictures, how to find the heart of a story and do so in a way that connected with children. I worked hard at getting to the 3-4 polished stories I needed to find an agent, and while I did choose to go back to a day job, I found that it helped ignite my creative energy even more, because it took the pressure off of me to produce all the time. In December 2019, I attended the Big Sur workshop, hosted by the wonderful agents at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and was invited to submit my revised stories to the lovely Jamie Weiss Chilton. So I was hard at work incorporating the feedback I had received into all my stories and preparing to query in early 2020.

Then, COVID happened. It was a scary time for all, but the anti-Asian hate that arose, especially in my backyard in California, shocked me. As a Taiwanese American who was born in the US and spent my entire life here, I was astonished by the stories of rising xenophobia against Asians and Asian Americans, and felt a strong call to action. All of a sudden, I really wanted to tell stories about being American from a bi-cultural perspective, and to combat all that hate with joyful stories that showed Asians and Asian Americans in our loving, proud humanity. So I dug deep and completely rewrote one of my manuscripts, a concept book celebrating all types of families, to focus on my personal cultural experience, on how my family growing up really did love each other, but showed that love through what we did, without ever saying those three little words.

And so HOW WE SAY I LOVE YOU was born! I shared my rewrite with Jamie, she offered me representation, and we worked together to make the story even stronger. After pitching the story to several editors, which resulted in an exciting auction, HOW WE SAY I LOVE YOU found its home with Knopf/Penguin Random House, with the amazing Rotem Moscovich. She and the Knopf team then found the wonderful Lenny Wen to illustrate the story, and now, the book will be on bookshelves around the world on December 13th, 2022.

While the height of the pandemic was an awful time and surfaced injustices that frankly are more painful to recognize than to believe they don’t exist, it pushed me to realize that I really do have a voice and calling. It’s empowered me to want to continue writing and sharing stories about strong, joyful Asian Americans, and I wrote HOW WE SAY I LOVE YOU to carry a universal message that celebrates the love families feel for each other, and at the same time celebrates how one particular Taiwanese American family loves. I hope you all enjoy reading about little Hana and her family!

(PS. Keep your eyes out for my debut middle grade novel, IT’S BOBA TIME FOR PEARL LI!, coming out February 28, 2023, for more joyful Asian American stories!)


Storytelling is what I do. During the day, I work as a product researcher, which means my job is to listen to people tell me about their lives, needs, and relationships with brands, businesses, and products. Then I translate what they tell me into stories that help the companies I work for design and develop delightful and useful experiences.

At night, I imagine and then write stories for kids. Kids are filled with such wisdom, curiosity, and joy, and I hope to offer them stories that challenge, inspire, and reflect who they are and what they experience as they soak in the complex world. My own child teaches me everyday, and I hope to repay the favor by bringing stories that celebrate her—and other kids like her—to the printed page.


Lenny Wen is a children’s book illustrator and author born and raised in Indonesia. She currently lives in the countryside of Austria.

She loves to draw whimsical, spooky, funny, and nostalgic childhood illustrations, possessing a mixture of storytelling, imagination, and emotion.

When she is not illustrating or writing, you might find her staring at the trees, doodling hundred of bears in her sketchbook,  filling up her cup with coffee, or hugging her dog a bit too much.

Nicole, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how this book shows how family members express their affections without having to say, ‘I love you.’ How Hana’s family are always with her making homemade food, cheering her on at a game from the sidelines. How Hana shows her love by  giving Grandma foot rubs and serving Grandpa sleepy hot tea.  I’m a big fan of Lenny’s – just featured her on Illustrator Saturday. Her beautiful art of this sweet Asian American family is this book the icing on the cake. But most of all I love how your book will inspire all children to see the simple things a family does to say, “I love you.” Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a sweet book. And the illustrations are lovely. Thanks for the review. I will pass on the giveaway.


  2. This book does ĺook joyful, and adorable!


  3. Looks lovely! Newsletter subscriber + tweeted


  4. I love the idea of reinforcing “actions speak louder than words.” This book will make a delightful addition to every library that it lives in!


  5. In my family showing love through helpful and supportive actions is how we’ve always been. I love this heartwarming book idea and the illustrations are amazing and perfect for this family-centered book. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, and Twitter.


  6. We need a book like this for adults. 😄


  7. Love the theme! My family wasn’t big on saying “I love you,” either. But they showed it in countless ways. Thank you for making this beautiful book!


  8. Hope I’m not too late to enter. Shared on Pinterest, Twitter, and FB. Thanks.


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