Can you tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to Singapore?
I came to Singapore in 2002 with my husband and child. My husband had been transferred here with his job and I was a trailing spouse with a 1 year old daughter.
14 years later, I have 3 gorgeous girls and work part time at an International school here.
Your recently launched book “Don’t Worry, Spratly!” is now available in Singapore, can you tell us a little about the book?
Yes, the book deals in a positive way with change and transition. It is not solely for expatriates but helps any child deal with moving year groups or school. Don’t Worry, Spratly! supports a charity called CandleAid Lanka, which teaches underpriviledged children to swim. I have been supporting this charity for the past 10 years and it is fantastic. www.candleaid.org
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
I taught in the UK for 6 years before moving to Singapore, I have been teaching for 20 years and know from personal experience (with my daughters and from teaching classes) that change can be an unsettling experience for some children. A few years ago, I searched and searched for a book that dealt with change and couldn’t find one. I took the inspiration from this and based the story on a school of fish. I have always loved collective nouns and it seemed a great play on words!
What was the timeframe for writing this book?
I started writing the book around 3 years ago, I procrastinated for a year (life is very busy in Singapore especially with 3 children and working) but I knew exactly how I wanted to make my illustrations for my book. In January 2016, I got together with Kate Drewer from Pure Purple who photographed my models and background. Kate used her knowledge of Graphic design and together we created the collage book using different textures. It was an interesting experience and a steep learning curve for me. I also joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in October 2015, if you’re thinking about publishing your own book or you are an illustrator then this group is for you. It is a mixture of local and expatriate writers and illustrators and the support and encouragement from the group is just amazing. www.scbwi.org
What can parents expect the book to teach their children?
My book contains a page to encourage discussion between parents or teachers and their children and deals positively with change. It has a subliminal message that change can be a great thing if you have a positive mind. The book also contains instructions on how to make a worry fish using simple craft materials.
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
Before teaching I was a stockbroker, I am a vegetarian and I love fast cars… in fact, one day I would absolutely love to have a go at rally driving acheter du viagra belgique.
I am still marketing my book but am slowly visiting schools in Singapore and hosting writing and art workshops based on the book. The response so far has been really positive.
Lastly, where can we buy “Don’t Worry, Spratly” ?
It can be bought from my website, helensampson.com or facebook page @helensampsonart
It can also be bought from closetfulofbooks.com and Tango Mango in Tanglin Mall.
Twitter & Facebook: @helensampsonart