GETTING TO KNOW EVA
Q&A with Author, Eva Wong Nava and her Author Visits
Where were you born?
I was born on a tropical island where a heraldic animal — a merlion — spurts water from its mouth. The merlion stands guard at the mouth of the South China Sea, protecting the islanders from marauding pirates. This tropical island was known as Temasek which means Sea Town in Malay. Today, everyone calls it Singapore.
What made you become a children’s book author?
I write for children because children want to know so many things and stories help children connect the dots and to learn the things they want to know.
What did you want to be when you were little?
My parents told me that I could be anything I wanted to be as long as it made me happy. I taught for some years and this made me happy. When I read books to my students, this made me happier. And when I finally wrote my own stories, I was the happiest. So this told me that I should write. And what’s great about writing is that I get to do what makes me happy — teach. This to me is catching two birds with one net.
Do you draw or illustrate your own stories?
I wish I could, but I don’t as drawing isn’t something I do well, but I am learning. However, I work with talented illustrators from all over the world who animate my stories with their art. I also work with marvellous art directors who help the illustrators bring their visions of my story alive on the page.
What is your favourite quote from a children’s book author?
Stories Connect Us by Kate DiCamillo
~ Bhavisha Patel, English Lead, New Farm School ~
“You were so good with the young ones.”
~ Wan Ting Neo (online meet-and-greet and storytelling with NLB Molly). ~
Armchair Author Visit made comfy
Due to the COVID-19, I’m available for virtual author visits via Zoom, Hangouts or Skype.
I can send you lesson plans and resources ahead of time for an author visit.
My fees are in line with the guidelines suggested by the Society of Authors. Here is a useful guide for schools on hosting author visits.
Contact me for a virtual visit: firstname.lastname@example.org or through this site at Contact An Author
“Thank you for your visit today. It was lovely to meet you and the boys thoroughly enjoyed their time with you”
Helen Davis, Keble Prep, London
MY TEACHING STORY
Before I became a children’s book author, I was an English teacher. I taught at several inner-city London schools, where many of my students were reluctant readers. I learned that stories engaged my students the most as stories made them curious. So, I used literature to discuss the bigger questions in life, like what is the purpose of reading, why it is important to represent diverse characters in books, and how literature can help us become more self-aware.
I can visit your schools for an hour to read and perform Open – A Boy’s Wayang Adventure.
I work in an informal and personal style; my sessions are rarely scripted. I let the students lead and I’m always happy to answer any questions on the things they are curious about. I tend to share personal stories about my writing process and my life. I love conversations and I love talking with students and their teachers about writing; I try to keep my whole presentation fun and interactive. My sessions always leave space and a lot of time for Q&A—I love hearing what the students have to say and to answer the pressing questions that they want to know.
This is what a typical reading session looks like
–Through readings of the book, participants will take a look at how literature can help children understand emotions. They will learn to make connections between their feelings and those of their peers, especially peers with special needs, thus, increasing their own understanding and awareness of personal emotional needs and those of others.
During the session, participants will be sharing and discussing what they understand to be special needs in their families, schools and communities, and why autism is a special need. This is followed by why they think acceptance, tolerance and inclusion are so important in our communities.
As the book interweaves historical elements of the Wayang into the backstory of Open, there will be a short discussion on what the wayang is, how this is related to the history of Singapore (and China) and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage.–
Sahara Khan uses her special senses to empower her in Sahara’s Special Senses. I can conduct storytelling and creative writing workshops on writing with our senses to your student.
I am also available for a reading of my picture book, The Boy Who Talks in Bits and Bobs.
Through music and an activity, your students will be able to empathise with Owen, the boy who talks in bits and bobs.
“Eva Wong Nava is approachable and engaging to young readers and students. I had many Mandarin speakers in my class. Speaking Mandarin herself, she was able to engage them and switch to English to address other international students. Ms Wong Nava was able to find out what the students were interested in and built on that knowledge to give them more understanding in memoirs and empathy. I will definitely tap into her knowledge again.”
– UYEN NGUYEN IS A GRADE 5 TEACHER WHO CURRENTLY WORKS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL IN SINGAPORE –
WHAT ELSE I CAN DO FOR YOU
“This was a fabulous workshop. I learned so much.” ~ Nikki Yong
After teaching for some time and travelling for most of the time, I discovered that the visual arts and art history have always spoken the loudest to me. Hence, I became an art historian. Today, I talk and write about art in various places. And I also teach writing through artworks.
I am available for workshops and short courses on creative writing at schools and centres in your communities.
Other than writing for children, I also write short stories–Flash Fiction–that have been inspired by images. I want to share how images can become writing prompts and how we can be inspired to write from the images surrounding us.
My courses are typically 60 – 180 minutes long and can be catered to your requirements. The courses can be taught singly or in a set of five. But to maximise on your learning, the latter way is best. This course is good for both children (12+) and adults.
Participants (ages 18 and above) will also have the chance of being published on my blog.
My writing Raison d’être
We are surrounded by images daily. These images all have a story to tell, you just have to listen out for them and be inspired by them. I have devised a creative writing programme that uses artefacts and visual art as prompts to get those creative juices flowing. I have used this programme successfully to teach children and adults how they can use writing to communicate and for play.
- Types of Flash Fiction
- The essence of the Story Arc in Flash
- Narrator and Narration
- Voice and Tone
- Story and Plot
- Dialogue vs Monologue
- Visual Description – Showing vs telling
- Storytelling Elements
- Visual Art History (place, material, the purpose of creation, artist, art movement, period…)
- Social History (war, heritage, architectural history, issues of the day…)
- Ekphrasis (though not specifically for the purpose of writing but as a takeaway from the course)
“Eva Wong Nava is a professional, extremely well-organised and approachable teacher. She has an appealing unforced teaching style and is able to quickly build empathy and rapport with students.”
– DR SCOTT ANTHONY, ASST PROFESSOR, HISTORY, NATIONAL TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES –