I'm a Picture Book Rising Star mentor this coming summer. Founded by Ebony Lynn Mudd and Kailei Pew, this free program helps writers finetune their manuscripts and learn the craft of picture book writing. If you're interested, please check the post here and here.
CHRI Christian Radio out of Ottawa, Canada interviewed me about God's Little Astronomer. You can view it or just listen here. The book is also on sale at Christianbook.com
In other bookish news, I just saw sketches of the cover for God's Little Oceanographer coming in 2025. Marta Álvarez Miguéns is so talented!
And things are moving along nicely for my lyrical graphic novel, The Other Side of Tomorrow, a middle grade story coming November 12! I finished looking at art and revised some last minute text changes. Love what Deb JJ Lee brings to the story!
How are things going with you?
The Kirkus Review is in! You can read the full review here. They sum it up as: "An informative and inspirational bridge between science and religion for Christian households."
I can't wait to hold it in my hands! Meanwhile, the illustrator is working on book 2, God's Little Oceanographer, swimming into publication in 2025.
I'm at the Grog Blog speaking on a topic near and dear to my heart as a mom, teacher, and author. You can read the post here.
Just a reminder, please re-subscribe to my blog if you haven't done so. The previous subscription site no longer works. Please see the pink box on the top right to sign up. Thank you! And I updated my blog banner to reflect some new books.
I hope you're all staying cozy and warm. We've had 3 snow days with wind chills down to -45 and over 20 inches of snow. I'm thankful for the extra writing time! How are you spending your winter days?
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration! I'm thankful for all the blog followers I had in the past. Evidently, the Feed Burner subscription service I was using for this blog quit their service a while back, and I didn't realize it. I was wondering why there weren't comments :) So if you would like to sign up for my blog again, I'd love it if you'd enter your email into the box on the right. I'm now using the Follow It subscription service. I hope it works, and then I can deliver writing content & book updates once in a blue moon to you all. Thank you so much! Please comment below with something you're thankful for so I know this is working.
The lovely Marta Álvarez Miguéns illustrated the cover of my next picture book, out February 20, 2024, from Waterbrook, Penguin Random House's Christian imprint. You can read how I landed the 2-book deal at the Grog Blog.
I'm thankful it's summer break for me. Now I can focus on my writing. Last week I did an all day virtual author visit with a school in New Jersey. Yesterday I taught an in-person writing class at my church.
And tomorrow I'm waking up early to do research on another story.
And I'm revising my 2nd middle grade novel, hopefully it will sell in the future.
What does your summer look like?
The year has flown by. I'm thankful for all my writing friends and readers. Like they say, the older you get, time goes faster. This semester (teachers always think in semesters, eh?) I'm thankful a book deal was announced which was actually sold almost a year ago to Penguin Random House's Christian imprint, Waterbrook Multnomah.
I just received sketches of God's Little Astronomer, and I'm in love. I can't wait for you to see this one. And I'm working on book 2, will send the first draft to my editor this coming week.
I've been drafting new picture book stories and one new middle grade novel. We'll see if they ever make it into the literary world. A month ago I did a virtual author visit with an international school in Korea. Surprisingly, a couple of students that I had taught in kindergarten now attend this other school. It was wonderful to talk to them!
In 2024, my first middle grade lyrical graphic novel, The Other Side of Tomorrow, should publish. I love when illustrator Deb JJ Lee posts glimpses of it on social media. Here's the main character in a North Korean setting.
My Thanksgiving break is almost over. I want to leave you with a prayer of blessing because of all that's going on in the world and our families. Know that God loves you & cares for you and yours.
"The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Here's a photo essay of my summer so far.
5/28 Read The Ocean Calls at the Celebrasian Fest in Des Moines, IA, sold my books, thanks to Beaverdale Bookstore. This event led to another one!
6/9 Holy, moly. I turned 51.
6/11 My 1st SCBWI-IA gathering. I did a 3 minute lightning talk about Why Writers Should Be on Social Media. Had a great lunch getting to know local writers.
6/15 1st MRI and 1.5 yr post lumpectomy mammogram = no cancer, Praise the Lord!
6/18 IA K-Pop Fan Event: The Celebrasian Fest contact led to this event, where hundreds of BTS fans gathered to celebrate. I sold my books and read The Ocean Calls.
6/20 A sad day, my almost 98-year-old grandma passed away.
6/21 Thankful for writing distractions. Helped mann the IA/MN SCBWI table at the Iowa Reading Association in Ames, IA, and ended up leading the small group of authors in doing a presentation on Author Visits 101 to fill an empty spot in the schedule.
6/27-29 Quick mini vacation to Chicago, ate lots of Korean food
6/30 Read My Breakfast with Jesus and Rice from Heaven to kids at Hope Preschool's Day Camp. Emphasized diversity and gratefulness. This was my first in-person reading of My Breakfast with Jesus!
Up next: Teaching a 1 hour webinar~
How is your summer? Have fun being creative!
March 1st, 2022, this book, Asian American Women in Science publishes with Rockridge Press or Callisto Media. This was a work-for-hire project I did this past summer for them. More about how I wrote this will be in an upcoming blog post for the Grog Blog in March.
Also, a new picture book deal will be announced soon! For now, my lips are sealed :)
The new year started so quickly. With teaching during a continued pandemic, life is a fast blur for me. I'm doing my best to keep up with teaching, writing, being a wife, & mom. I participated in an author's panel for NCTE in November and another panel of authors for the CA Teachers' Education Association last month in January.
I thank God for our writing community who cares for one another, for our reading community who shares and reviews our books, and family and friends who support us with encouraging words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Upcoming author events for me:
3/17 Author Zoom visit w/international school in South Korea
4/4 Speaking on an author's panel at the State Librarian's Conference of Iowa
This Thanksgiving season I'd like to share Jesus' love with families via Little Free Libraries. Today I visited two and added signed copies of My Breakfast with Jesus. I hope the kids who read them are blessed.
Would you like to join me in this endeavor? I was able to get a box of my books from my publisher at a discounted price. If you'd like to join me, I'll sell them for $13 ($9 for the book + $4 for shipping) until I run out. All you need to do is contact me that you'd like to do this. You can Venmo me or use PayPal. And I'll send a signed copy to you.
Let's flood the nation with Jesus' love and books!
We are so excited to announce the culmination of the "Representation Matters" series with a fun children's book giveaway!
The REPRESENTATION MATTERS MEGA BOOK GIVEAWAY includes signed and personalized copies of the following 4 books:
1️⃣ Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young
2️⃣ Different Like Me by Xochitl Dixon
3️⃣ Breakfast with Jesus by Tina M. Cho
4️⃣ The Celebration Place by Dorena Williamson
How do you qualify to be considered for this Mega Book Giveaway?
Follow ALL FOUR authors on Instagram:
*This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram. All ages can win the giveaway if they have an Instagram account. One winner will be chosen at random and announced via this post by noon PT/3 pm CT on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. Prizes will be shipped to one winner at a U.S. address only.
Today is the last in a series on why representation matters in picture books written by me. Next week, you can find details on how to win picture books from each of the four authors in the series: Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young, Xochitl Dixon, Dorena Williamson, and me.
Growing up in the Midwest in the 1970s, I don’t recall reading any books with characters that looked like me. In fact, I often forgot I was different on the outside. Inside I was a little white girl. Imagine the confusion I continue to entertain in my brain. Who am I?
I think the first time I saw an Asian character was in my daughter’s chapter books, The Cul-de-Sac Kids. She fell in love with that series because of it. A few years ago, my son enjoyed reading middle grade novels that featured Korean characters. Why? He could relate.
As a teacher, I like sharing picture books with characters that represent my students. Their eyes brighten, and they sit up a little taller. Representation matters. Children gravitate toward characters like them, whether it’s with their looks or some shared feature/hobby.
As a Christian, I want children to realize that God made us all, no matter our skin color. That we all came from Adam & Eve. That we are made in the image of God.
As a parent and teacher, I want children to respect others because God loves each individual and created them. I want families to be globally minded and to know God loves everyone no matter their skin color.
One way we as parents and teachers can help narrow the racial divide is by sharing diverse books and meeting with people who don’t look like us.
My picture book, My Breakfast with Jesus, published by Harvest House in 2020 and illustrated by Guy Wolek is about children from around the world eating their diverse breakfasts and sharing Jesus’ love with others.
In 2017, my agent suggested I write a story about food, friendship, and hospitality inspired by Jesus cooking His disciples a fish breakfast in John 21. And how neat I also had that idea in my notebook!
Living in South Korea for ten years and teaching at an international school allowed me to see a variety of foods. I had fun writing this nonfiction story researching breakfasts and deciding which countries to feature. I hope it inspires kids to learn about other cultures, taste the food, and share Jesus’ love in creative ways.
My other three picture books feature Korean culture. I want kids in the U.S. and around the world to hear stories about other kids who are alike yet different from them. Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans is about an event I participated in with North Korean refugees, sending rice in huge balloons over the border to North Korea. Korean Celebrations is a nonfiction picture book featuring holidays and traditions. The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story is based on real women divers of Jeju who dive deep into the ocean without breathing equipment, and most of these women are 50-80 years old.
Stories are important in shaping who we become. As an author, I want to write stories that not only share culture and represent who I am, but stories that honor and glorify God. When a child reads one of my books, I hope they have a new understanding and appreciation for the people represented in my books, but also come away with awe of our Creator who made us all unique in His image. Reading books that feature characters different from us opens windows to other cultures and good discussion. And in the events surrounding this year, our children need to hear those conversations.
Thinking back to my early years, what if there were picture books with little Asian girls? Would I think differently about myself?
Give your child the gift of reading diverse books. Give them that window to see into other people’s lives.
For more than 2,000 years, people have started their day with a delicious meal in their bellies and the love of Jesus in their hearts. From bacon and eggs in the heart of North America to fresh baked bread in Antarctica, believers from each continent gather in the morning to share good food and conversation, giving thanks to God for all the wonderful things He’s done.
Tina Cho is the author of four picture books and an upcoming middle grade graphic novel. After living in South Korea for ten years, Tina, her husband, and two teenagers reside in Iowa where she also teaches kindergarten.
Tina M. Cho, children's author
I'm a children's author and freelance writer for the educational market. Welcome!