I Am Me! Author Q&A

Q: What aspects of your own life helped inspire this book?

A: As an 1.5 generation immigrant who moved to the US as a teenager, I grew up under the pressure to conform. My parents also never discussed homosexuality, people with different abilities, different personalities, nor mental health. We have to be “normal”, but who defines “normal”? I believe that children notice differences at a young age, but are only taught to dispel differences. I’m hoping this book can show a variety of adorable differences, and instill confidence to young readers and parents that difference is good and worth celebrating.

Q: Tell us the inspiration for the visuals in this book?

A: For this book, I envisioned a unique style combining real life photography and vintage comics. The real life photography features real children, with real emotions, and real differences. I want the young readers to see themselves in these images. With the powerful, nostalgic, cross-cultural art style of vintage web comics, which is a favorite among parents like us, I'm hoping to inspire the whole family with this classic style.

I also wanted to break stereotypes. Throughout the book, you’d find multiple instances where stereotypes are knocked out literally.

Abe Wong, a dear friend of mine, was able to bring this vision to life. As a 2nd gen Chinese American father of 3 girls, he eagerly joined me on this journey. Believing in the mission and vision of Duck Duck Books, he hopes to instill confidence in his girls, and every child that comes across this fun and meaningful board book.

Q: Who would you recommend this book to?

A: I recommend this book for any parents with young children. The pandemic made it difficult to see and get to know other children, especially children who look different than yours. If you want to show your child different children that s/he can find in your community, if you want to find a book featuring children like yours, this is the book for you.

Q: What can parents and children hope to learn from this book?

A: I’d encourage parents to leverage this book at different age to spark meaningful conversations.

If your child is under 1

Encourage your child to wonder with the bright, contrasting colors. Babies love looking at images of human faces, so let them make their first friends via this book.

If your child is 1-2 years old

Read the simple phrases as they learn to talk. These positive phrases will become part of their vocabulary and will help guide them as they grow. Describe the facial expressions and make them to your child. Encourage them to copy, and explore different emotions and expressions.

If your child is 3-5 years old

Instill confidence in your child, and encourage him/her to be comfortable with their emotions and facial expressions. Talk about the differences of these images with your child, and acknowledge that being different is amazing, and despite the differences we are all wonderful. You’d be surprised what you can learn from your open minded little one.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share about this book?

A: This is the first book and is the one that started it all. From a simple story concept to growing the Duck Duck Books as a publisher, this story embodies the essence of Duck Duck Book’s values.