A conversation with Ivan & Stephanie

Authors of Bobo’s Wild Chase

Husband and wife writing team Ivan Lin and Stephanie Fu were inspired to create children’s stories by the love of language in their home. A bilingual family, the pair has been dedicated to speaking Mandarin and English to their young children as a way to connect to their heritage and culture and to identify with their relatives in Asia.

Their new inclusive picture book, Bobo’s Wild Chase, carries a message of empathy, kindness and love, with the books being offered in English as well as Chinese formats. They hope their young readers come away from their book understanding that all people are different, even in what they believe, and it should not stand in the way of being kind to each other and pursuing belonging and love. They hope their story fosters an appreciation for diversity that remains long after the book is closed.

How did you decide to write a Children’s book together?

Several events occurred during COVID that prompted us to reconsider the most crucial message that we wanted to impart to our children. We strongly believe in our message and recognize picture books as an effective medium for communicating it to young children. 

Why did you choose to write about this topic and why do you think the message is important?

Our message is centered around teaching children to cultivate love through acts of kindness grounded in empathy and compassion. Empathy is the foundation of kindness and love, allowing children to develop the capacity to feel and understand. Once they have compassion, performing acts of kindness allows them to experience selflessness and generosity, which incubates love. Ultimately, our goal is to foster a generation filled with more love. Our book, Bobo’s Wild Chase, embodies the values of empathy, kindness, and love that resonate with our own experiences, and presents them in an exciting storyline set in a relatable environment.

What moves you most in a work of literature?

Stephanie –  A book that sets up for its readers to receive the wisdom of life is a book that touches me the most. 

Ivan – I enjoy the process of the author building up the different storylines and settings for the eventual realization or discovery. In the end, it is a delicate balance – simple enough for the readers to feel unattainable, yet sophisticated enough to surprise them.
What kind of reader were you as a child? 

Stephanie – As a child, I was always captivated by love stories, ranging from classic tales like Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby to modern urban love stories. Love is an incredibly intriguing and intricate topic to explore, and I find that stories about love tap into something universal within us. Whether it’s romantic love, familial love, or parental love, I am drawn to narratives that evoke deep emotions and delve into the most profound aspects of our experience. Exploring the many facets of love through the lenses of different authors’ storytelling allows me to explore the complexities and contradictions of relationships.

Ivan – Growing up, I read a lot of picture books, detective books, comic books, and novels. I was particularly drawn to books full of details in the background, plot twists or hidden clues, and a wondrous storyline that links them all. Whenever I found something new or hidden, it gave me the energy and desire to re-read the book to find more! I’m always trying to outwit the writer and contemplate what the writer is thinking at the very moment of the creative process. This contributes to many aspects of my career and the way I approach problems.

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