Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 9) for Reader Views (04/17)
Interview by Sheri Hoyte (4/18)
George Chiang journeyed deep into the mountains in the Pacific Northwest to uncover the long-lost stories of Chen Sing. George wrote and composed the award-winning musical, Golden Lotus. Also an actor, he has appeared in many film, television and theatre productions.
Welcome George, and thank you for being with us today. What is your book, The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing about?
The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing is about the adventures of a teenage boy from China, Chen Sing, who comes to North America to help build the transcontinental railway through the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
What inspired you to write a children’s book?
I wanted to write a story about a Chinese pioneer who helped build the railway. I chose to write it for children because I think the story of Chen Sing resonates for young readers.
Is there a lesson behind the story?
There are many lessons in this story. However, what is prevalent in this book is that you can accomplish anything with hard work, persistence, and determination.
What do you hope children take away from “The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing?
I hope that children will get a glimpse of what it was like for the many thousands of Chinese railroad workers who helped build the railways in North America through the eyes of Chen Sing.
As a children’s author, how do you think kids connect to actual books in this digital age?
I think children connect with books as much as their environment allows them to. If they are brought up in an environment that cherishes books they will embrace them. Books give them an opportunity to really learn about the world. If they are not in an environment where books and reading are encouraged then they will have not much use for them.
What guidance can you give to parents on how to instill a love of reading and introduce the world of books to their children?
I think role modeling is the best way to instill a love or reading in children. If they see their parents reading, they themselves will want to read more too.
What is the best part about being a children’s author?
The best part is that you are giving them a story that will help develop their ideas about the world. To see their reactions and hear their questions and comments about the book has been a very rewarding experience.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received, about writing or about life in general?
The best advice about writing I received is that “Writing is re-writing.” The best advice about life is “Live each day as if it’s your last.”
What advice can you give aspiring children’s authors?
If you want to write a book you just need to write. Set a time each day that you can spend on just writing, with no distractions. If you can do that, you will be surprised at how much you can get done.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy playing hockey, watching movies, spending time with family, and of course, reading.
So, what’s next? Will Chen Sing continue to take readers on exciting new adventures?
I am writing a sequel to this book called The Pioneer Adventures of Chen Sing which is about his life after he worked on the railroad.
Do you have a website where people can find out more about you and your works?
I have a website in the works at http://www.georgechiang.org.
Where can readers purchase The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing?
The book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (Hardcover/Paperback), and by e-book at Kindle, iBooks, and Google Play Books.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?
Look out for the sequel, The Pioneer Adventures of Chen Sing!
George, thank you so much for spending some time with us today! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about you and look forward to seeing what’s coming next!