3.25.17 A big THANK YOU to the fifty guests who attended the book release/ launch party for Please Love Umma last night! I was so blessed by your support and love. A special thank you to DJ Dvido for spinning the night away with some awesome tunes. It was so much fun celebrating with everyone.
Here are a few photos from the evening at the venue, As We Dwell:
Champagne cocktails and Korean appetizers (kimchi fried rice, ddukbokki, soondae, and different kinds of rolls) were served. Congrats to the five winners who took home Starbucks gift cards for the Please Love Umma quiz!
Thank you to As We Dwell for allowing us to utilize these lovely bookcases so that we could display Please Love Umma’s paperback copies which are currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.
For those who missed the speech, below is a snippet:
“The writer, Toni Morrison, once said: ‘If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ I actually came across this quote after I had written Please Love Umma’s first draft a few years ago, and realized this was the exact reason why I had been inspired to write this book. I found a shortage of novels for the middle-grade reader (ages 9-12) with Korean-American characters as well as a shortage of middle-grade novels with female main characters.
I really wanted to write something that delved into difficult topics for children. I know that, we, as a community, try to protect our children from losing their innocence or from being exposed to certain truths about life too early, however I also believe that there are things that no matter how old we are in life, we will never be prepared for them. Things such as clearly hearing God’s voice for the first time, being rejected because of other people’s judgements, failing, changing the trajectory of your life over and over again and still not knowing where you’re going, becoming successful and feeling empty, losing a child, being hurt by racism, losing a friend, feeling frustrated because of sexism, losing a sibling, having a close encounter with your own death and realizing how precious life is, losing a parent, dying and not being given the time to process how precious life is. As a writer, I am never, ever satisfied with my work. My husband told me the other week that although my book may have these difficult concepts that perhaps 9-12 year olds may not fully grasp when they read about them, they will grow up and remember how they felt when reading it. This gave me a little bit of confidence and reassurance about my work. It also reminded me of what Maya Angelou once said…. People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. I hope that in some capacity, I can touch even one child’s heart and help them feel as if they matter in their community.
Everyone has their own preferred characters in books and movies that they relate to or are drawn to. The characters that personally intrigue me are the outcasts and misfits who pursue their passions and make it in life, the educated who value humanity over their academic achievements, the highly successful who seek to get involved in bringing different people together rather than only surrounding themselves among other successful people who are like them, the highly honored and recognized people who come home and throw their awards into the bottom of their desk drawers instead of framing them, the daughter-in-law who is berated by her mother-in -law for years because she isn’t pretty enough or smart enough or good enough for her son, and this daughter-in-law ends up taking care of her mother-in-law and changing her adult diapers every day when she becomes sick until the day she passes away, the ex-drug addict who used to be a customer at locations in the sex industry and now works to end the exploitation of women in the community, the reformed criminal who becomes so ethical, so good, and so moral and ends up working so hard to serve the community that the people he trespassed against ends up forgiving and loving him, the immensely rich who quietly give away most of the money they make to help others. I think you see a pattern here. I believe in humanity, forgiveness, integrity, love, compassion, humility, and most of all, community. I know that these characters sound fictional and sometimes maybe we get a glimpse of them in real life outside of movies and books, but I am so fortunate because every single one of these people I described are in this very room right now. You are my heroes.
I hope you love my novel. Please be gentle with it. Thank you for celebrating with me tonight. It really means a lot to me that you are all here.”
Thank you to my in-laws for the beautiful orchids! Thank you to Umma and Abba as well as my step-dad and my step bro for giving me an endless amount of love. Last, but not least, thank you God for my awesome hubby who threw me this fabulous book release party in celebration of my first published children’s novel. Eugene, words cannot describe how much you mean to me. I love you.