Over the summer of 2021, one Surrey couple got busy creating two books for kids.
Both aimed at school-aged students, the books are sold on Amazon as e-book, paperback and hardcover editions.
A school teacher, Daniel said he loves reading picture books to kids, so he got busy publishing one of his own with the help of his wife, as a “pandemic project” at their Fleetwood-area home.
“Over the summer we still couldn’t do a whole lot of stuff, really, and we just pushed ourselves to do this,” Daniel said.
They had planned to get just one book done, ‘Lonk the Loooong Giraffe.’
“My wife had drawn those illustrations close to 17 years ago, so it’s been sitting around in the house, and we told stories about them. It was perfect timing – we had the time and desire to put it together as an actual book. So it was partly a pandemic project. The first one was more about me learning how to put it into Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, the publishing part of it.”
The “Rupert” book quickly followed, involving a blizzard of illustrations by Yoon Kyong.
“For the second one, I had the story and my wife just went ahead and did the illustrations, which she did in two and a half weeks, probably – morning to evening, a lot of 10-hour days,” Daniel explained. “Once she gets into a passion project, she can draw or paint for an entire day, so that’s what she did for ‘Rupert,’ and I was shocked because I thought that would take months, basically. So we just said, ‘OK, let’s publish the second one too,’ at the end of August. That one was done within four weeks.”
Yoon Kyong studied art in South Korea, then taught and managed an art school for young students for many years prior to moving to Canada. “She enjoys singing praise songs, talking with friends, and walking outside in nature. As a young girl, she recalls being ‘Wonder Woman’ and standing up to bullies, as well as being immensely curious with all forms of nature and wildlife,” the bio reveals.
Daniel has studied education, commerce, journalism, applied linguistics, psychology and even a bit of drafting. He has written newspaper and magazine articles, created educational books in South Korea, and once proofread Harlequin Romance novels in Toronto.
“That’s a bit of a dark, dirty secret,” Daniel said with a laugh. “I did it for two years, and my shift was from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., because they needed a lot of proofreaders and had two shifts. I read roughly two or three books a week, so that’s close to 300 Harlequin Romances I read over those two years. It was fun – a good group of friends, and we had the whole building to ourselves. Reading for seven or eight hours straight every night, my eyesight got pretty bad after those two years, so that was enough.”
For the Lees, another book is already in the works, and it could be an expanded family project.
”In terms of picture books, I have a bunch of stories,” Daniel noted. “My younger son, Jaden, he’s starting university (at SFU), and has some illustrations for a book idea. So there might be one involving him as well. He also designed the publishing logo, Namu Press, for our books.”