LION CITY ADVENTURES — WHY SOME CHILDREN’S BOOKS CAN REALLY MAKE YOU SMILE
NOTE: Don Bosco is the author of the award-winning LION CITY ADVENTURES series, about a society of children dedicated to exploring Singapore, making new friends and solving mysteries. This post is part of a series about the creative inspiration behind the books, the publishing process, etc.
When I was much younger, I loved to read because my favourite books always took me away to distant worlds where children had so much fun and could do amazing things. Where they could be brave and loyal and curious, and somehow work their way towards happy endings. Where they could eat yummy chocolates and sweets at that legendary Chocolate Factory. Stuff like that.
For Lion City Adventures, the first book of the series, I really wanted to create an imaginary world just like this and share it with young and old readers all over the world.
So how do you get started tackling a HUMONGOUS project like this?
Dream a little dream
Well, you have to spend time thinking about your ideas. You make pictures inside your head. You imagine filling this story world with all sorts of things that you like. (Which may or may not include chocolates, or Singaporean delights like nonya kueh, or fresh durians, yum!)
More importantly, you dream up different kinds of characters and set them free inside this story world. They are like your imaginary friends. Once you’ve created stories around them, you can share these with all your readers. And this is how more and more people can get to know and love your imaginary friends.
Begin at the beginning
This series really started to take off in my imagination when I sat down one evening to write the section titled, A History of the Lion City Adventuring Club. I wanted to know, how did this amazing organisation start? So I sat there imagining. While I was busy with this, I happened to glance over to my shelf, where I saw some copies of my other book series, Sherlock Hong Adventures. It’s set in Singapore, in the year 1891, and it follows a delightful young detective as he solves mysteries and pursues criminals around Chinatown.
Right then, in a flash, it came to me. There’s a character in my Sherlock Hong books named Jayathri. I had always wanted to involve her in the action a lot more, but there was never enough pages to do so. What if she had gotten tired of waiting, and decided to take matters into her own hands? What if she had wanted to create her own adventures instead?
So that was how Jayathri became the leader and founder of the Lion City Adventuring Club in 1894. She was a hardworking leader. She organised many exploration trips and the membership numbers grew steadily. And a whole new story franchise was born.
Make it irresistible
Imagine a big group of inquisitive children exploring our island and having adventures on their own, and recruiting other children to continue the tradition. Running this very seriously, like a proper exploration society. It was such a breathtaking thought that I wanted to join it too! RIGHT AWAY.
Sad to say, we don’t have anything as marvellous as this in real life. Not even in our local stories. There might be small groups of friends, or secret clubs here and there, but nothing on such an epic scale.
I knew I was onto something. I knew I had to write about this and find out more about the storyworld for myself. All because Jayathri wanted to go off on her own and do something HUGE.
It was a thrilling experience to create this rich wonderland that is so much more than what we normally read about in books about Singapore’s history or culture. Researching the past, I was enchanted by all the stories and photos that I came across. Every time I sat down to work on this, I would end up smiling from ear to ear.
After writing three Lion City Adventures books, I’m even more eager to share what I’ve learnt with my children, all my friends, and all my friends’ children and their friends’ children, and their children’s friends and friends of the friends. I want to share this with EVERYONE.
So this book is a gateway to this wonderland I have created. It will improve your children’s imagination. (And yours too.) And they will see that there’s more to life around us than what meets the eye.
When we use our imagination like this, when we create fun stories that we enjoy sharing, we make life more interesting. Doesn’t this make you smile already?
LION CITY ADVENTURES SERIES
Book 1: Lion City Adventures
Book 2: Secrets of the Heartlands
Book 3: Island of Legends
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Yes, SECRETS OF THE HEARTLANDS (Lion City Adventures, Book 2) has been nominated for this year’s POPULAR READERS’ CHOICE award. Please take some time to vote for your favourite books, and you might win a $50 voucher plus 1 year Popular card membership. For readers in Singapore only.
Vote and win here:
For updates about Don Bosco’s new book projects, visit the Super Cool Books website here.