I told my first stories in Boston, then after marriage to Indian sculptor, Paramasivam, I quickly
embraced Asian storytelling, traveling across Asia supported by foundations and local groups. I've told
stories and documented storytelling on 12 trips to India, 7 trips to Japan, 5 trips to Korea , 5 to
Singapore, and a good sprinkling elsewhere.
My books came out of my storytelling when one day, Harriet Rohmer, of Children's Book Press, asked
for a manuscript. Quite thrilled, I sent several ideas to her and one became a book, done with Blia
Xiong. It was the first picture book of a Hmong tale, and an ALA Notable Book of the Year!
After that, came a story from Cambodia about the delightful trickster Judge Rabbit, which I did with
Lina Mao Wall. We gathered a group of Cambodian friends and shared stories of this important
character over many sessions, at last finding one we all agreed upon. It was then published as one of
the first stories for Cambodian children in the US.
Next, 5 picture books came out from The Wright Group (now McGraw-Hill), illustrated by different
artists with connections to Laos, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, and India. Each book is a visual treat and
includes background material. After that came two books from Highsmith: one of Asian tales, the other
of Asian trickster tales. They were great fun to write for teachers, tellers, and families, with lots of
resources and activities.
Meanwhile, I started working with Tulika Publishers in India. Besides several picture books, we
created three resource books for teachers, storytellers, parents, and others. First came a small book of
Indian stories and activities. Then came a collection, with a story from each state in India, along with
resources and activities, The World of Indian Stories. That proved very popular, so we
followed it by The World of Asian Stories, with a story from every country in Asia, activities, and
background. Fine illustrations were provided by N. Bindhu Naidu.
In between the book projects, I made several storytelling tapes, a CD, and a wide variety of
storytelling articles. Then Anne Drillick and I did a colorful book for teachers, using art projects and
stories to share Korea. It was published by the Korea Society, thanks to our dear friend, Yong Jin Choi.
Here's some good news: Singapore's National Library Board published a recent story in 2014 in the
4 languages of Singapore, Tulika reprinted another story, and two more stories came out from Libraries
Unlimited, 2015. Now while I catch up to this thing called social media, I'm working on the story of my rather