Tina Cho: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

 

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TINA CHO

In this business, we need a core of critique partners who not only help us polish our manuscripts, but also encourage and support us, commiserating when we get rejections and cheering when success comes knocking at our door. I am truly fortunate to have today’s Will Write for Cookies guest as one of mine. Tina Cho is part of the very first critique group I joined back in 2012 and I credit her with helping me revise and polish many of my manuscripts.

Tina Cho is the author of three picture books– Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans (Little Bee Books/Bonnier Publishing August 2018), Korean Celebrations (forthcoming Tuttle 2019) and Breakfast with Jesus (forthcoming Harvest House 2020). Although she grew up and taught in the United States, she currently lives in South Korea with her husband and two children while teaching at an international school. To learn more about her, you can go to her Website, or connect with her on Twitter or Instagram: tinamcho.

I love doing Q&A’s with every author and illustrator who stops by here, but there is a special joy when it is someone whose work I’ve seen from early draft to polished picture book story. I hope you will all join me in welcoming Tina!

ME: Hello, Tina. After all these years, I feel like I really know you. And I hope that after this interview, many more people will, too. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

TINA: Richard Scarry: My mom used to read to us from Richard Scarry’s Animal Nursery Tales (fairy tales).

Beverly Cleary’s Ramona & Beezus

Carolyn Haywood’s Betsy & Eddie series

Judy Blume–everything

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

TINA: I wish I had understood that it takes many, many drafts and real revision to make a story superb. When I first began, I thought my first and second drafts were pretty good. Not!

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

TINA: I like to write in my little office off my bedroom. It’s really a connecting room to the bathroom with a vanity, but it’s big enough for a small table, my laptop, and small shelf. I usually outline my stories in a notebook with pen or pencil. Then, I type out the story on my laptop in my office.

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

TINA: During the school year, I write in the evenings after school, especially when I’m doing a work-for-hire assignment. Otherwise, I have dedicated Saturdays as my writing day.

ME: Why do you write for children?

TINA: I fell in love with picture books, especially, from being an elementary teacher and reading them every day to my students. I want to create stories for children because children are our future. Children deserve to learn, to be loved, and to hear about all the stories in the world. I also write for children because I have a passion for different topics, and I just have to share it!

ME: Do you have any special thoughts for aspiring writers

TINA: Never give up. If you want to write, then you have to learn the craft, just like any other career. Take writing classes, read writing craft books, join critique groups, and SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). Find writing groups in Facebook and stay active 😊

ME: WOW…thank you so much for sharing all of this with us, Tina. I love your action plan for aspiring writers. You’ve laid out all the right steps that lead to success! And I know you are also going to lay out the right steps to creating one of your favorite sweet treats…so, take it away, Tina!

TINA: My grandma used to make Scotcheroos, and I’d take some with me to college. They were so addicting. Here’s a Scotcheroo recipe from a friend in Iowa.

Scotcheroos

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup white corn syrup

1 cup peanut butter

6 cups Rice Krispies

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

 

  1. Cook sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until it boils in the saucepan. Let boil 1 minute. Take off heat.
  2. Add peanut butter. Stir. Add Rice Krispies.
  3. Press into a 9×13 pan.
  4. Melt butterscotch chips and chocolate chips in a pan on the stove. You can add a tiny bit of water or milk if needed. Pour over the bars. Cut into squares right away.

Enjoy!

We will definitely enjoy these, Tina! And I am enjoying RICE FROM HEAVEN. I know many people are buying it because it is the #1 New Releases in Children’s Asia Books on Amazon..and I hope that many people will be reviewing it as well. Reviews are so important because they help other potential buyers to make good choices when it comes to selecting books for their children.

RicefromHeaven cover

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. Thank you for spending your precious time here.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: RICE FROM HEAVEN

I’ve been waiting a long time to review this book for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

How long, you ask? Well, I will tell you. I’ve been waiting ever since I read one of the first drafts from my critique buddy, Tina Cho. Because honestly, even from the first drafts, I knew this was going to be a real live book one day!

RicefromHeaven cover

RICE FROM HEAVEN

Written by Tina Cho

Illustrated by Keum Jin Song

Published by Little Bee Books

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Compassion, courage, South and North Korea

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“Rice from Heaven is a true story about compassion and bravery as a young girl and her community in South Korea help deliver rice via balloons to the starving and oppressed people in North Korea.

We reach a place where mountains become a wall. A wall so high, no one dares to climb. Beyond that wall and across the sea live children just like me, except they do not have food to eat.
Rice from Heaven is a true story about compassion and bravery as a young girl and her community in South Korea help deliver rice via balloons to the starving and oppressed people in North Korea.

Rice From Heaven _Page_06

We reach a place where mountains become a wall. A wall so high, no one dares to climb. Beyond that wall and across the sea live children just like me, except they do not have food to eat.

Yoori lives in South Korea and doesn’t know what North Korea is like, but her father (Appa) does. Appa grew up in North Korea, where he did not have enough food to eat. Starving, he fled to South Korea in search of a better life. Yoori doesn’t know how she can help as she’s only a little “grain of rice” herself, but Appa tells her that they can secretly help the starving people by sending special balloons that carry rice over the border.

Villagers glare and grumble, and children protest feeding the enemy, but Yoori doesn’t back down. She has to help. People right over the border don’t have food. No rice, and no green fields.

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With renewed spirit, volunteers gather in groups, fill the balloons with air, and tie the Styrofoam containers filled with rice to the tails of the balloons. With a little push, the balloons soar up and over the border, carrying rice in the darkness of the night over to North Korea.”

Why I like this book:

  • I love books that are based on true events…bringing history alive for young readers is so very important.
  • The text is lyrical and helps us connect to the main character.
  • The illustrations engage the reader/listener from the first page to the last.
  • This book is a perfect launchpad for any school or home discussion about helping others, compassion, and the world situation.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

All Kinds of Rice Crafts

RiceRoundUp-001-400x546Photo courtesy: https://funfamilycrafts.com/rice-activities-crafts-for-kids

75 crafts using rice! For more detailed instructions, please go here:

 https://funfamilycrafts.com/rice-activities-crafts-for-kids

Thank you for stopping by – I hope you will be back tomorrow for our chat with author Tina Cho…she is sharing some of her writing journey, a couple of author tips (like revision is a key ingredient to author success), and a treat recipe that includes…you guessed it…something rice-like.

And if you want to read the second installment of the peek inside my life, head on over to the blog of Sarah Hetu-Radney, Writer. She’s offering a giveaway of one of her own pb critiques!

Please have a safe and happy weekend!

 

 

 

 

Happy Book Birthday: Tina Cho’s RICE FROM HEAVEN

Don’t you love birthdays? I do!

Especially when they are book birthdays and I don’t get any older!

And especially when they are book birthday for one of my dearest kidlit friends!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAY TO RICE FROM HEAVEN!

RicefromHeaven cover

And not only is this a story by a dear critique buddy, the other amazing thing is that this book is based on true events! 

balloon launch 2

I am extremely grateful to Tina for writing this story and informing children and adults of what is happening on the other side of the world. We read a lot about North Korea in the news – but this is something that is going on behind the scenes. It shows such love and compassion on the part of the South Koreans who want the people in North Korea to have food. Learn more about RICE FROM HEAVEN tomorrow on Perfect Picture Book Friday.

 

And how excited I am to see that RICE FROM HEAVEN is the #1 New Release on Amazon in Children’s Asia Books!

tina cho amazon

I know you won’t want to miss our Perfect Picture Book Friday post when I review RICE FROM HEAVEN…and then, to top off this special week, Tina Cho will be stopping by to chat with us and share one of her favorite treats.

Thank you for spending your precious time here.  Pleases remember that the finest gift you can give the authors of your favorite books is to buy their books, review their books, tell your friends about their books, and ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection.

I hope you have a wonderful week and I hope to see you back here on Friday!