Meet Meiru, a good friend of Sea Apple who curates a beautiful selection of Chinese books for our store. We caught up with her and had a chat about her story, her curation process, and her tips on raising little readers.
Hey Meiru! Will you share with us why you started Flip for Joy, and where would you like it to go?
I was teaching Chinese language in a junior college before becoming a mum in 2009. When I was looking for Chinese children’s books locally to read to my child, I was surprised at the lack of interesting titles. I started sourcing books from overseas on my own. A few friends affirmed my curation and tasked me to get the same books for their children. That was when I realized fellow parents needed guidance on book selection. I felt a calling to curate quality titles for these families to encourage them to read Chinese books with their little ones and nurture their love for the Chinese language and culture from young.
Flip for Joy turned eleven this October. Moving on, we would like to continue curating great reads for families and building Chinese libraries for pre-schools in Singapore. I would also like to explore writing children’s books, it’s on my bucket list! :)
Tell us more about how you curate the titles for the store?
I curate books I think I would enjoy reading with my children. Most of the time, their response helps me decide whether the book deserves a place in the store. My expertise in the subject matter, experience from running the bookstore and conversations shared with customers also play a big part in influencing my curation.
What is your advice for a new parent who finds buying and reading Chinese books daunting?
It’s always lovely to see how new parents pick up the Chinese language again when they start reading with their children. Some have shared with me that they can now better appreciate the beauty of the language through our books and that keeps us going.
Start with books you are comfortable with, you’ll have to enjoy them too! The key to early childhood language development is input and opportunities to use the language meaningfully. Don’t let your language proficiency deter you from trying. If you need to find out the pronunciation of the words before reading to your child confidently, then put in the ground work. Every bit of effort counts and it goes a long way!
What do you think is the best way to inculcate a love of reading in a child?
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” - Emilie Buchwald
We have to first be readers too and model the good habit of reading regularly in order to inculcate the love of reading in our children. Given our busy schedules as parents, it does take conscious effort to set aside time to read with our children but it’s definitely worthwhile. Make reading part of your family’s daily family routine, it’s a great way to bond and your child will associate reading with positive emotions and eventually be readers too. Make books easily accessible in your home and consider getting front-facing bookshelves which would make the books more appealing.
Choose one: Physical books or digital books. Why?
Definitely physical. There is something magical when we flip the pages of a physical book. I feel that digital books and electronic devices can be distracting for children sometimes. Grab a book, flip a page and Flip for Joy!
Shop our selection of Chinese books here. More available in-store at United Square #01-68.