SPOTLIGHT BOOK TOUR: Mei's Mermaid Mission by Crystal Z. Lee



Book Details:

Book Title:  Mei's Mermaid Mission by Crystal Z. Lee
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 42 pages
GenreChildren's Picture Book
Publisher: Balestier Press
Publication Date: Mar 1, 2024.
Content Rating: G
Book Description:

The mission of the Mermaids International Rescue Alliance (MIRA) is to guard the ocean and protect the sea creatures. There are many mermaid members in MIRA from all over Asia, such as Princess Hwangok (Korea), Roro (Indonesia), Jiao (China), Ningyo (Japan), Songkhla (Thailand), Duyung (Malaysia), Sovann Macha (Cambodia), Sirena (the Philippines), and Mei (Taiwan). Mei's Mermaid Mission is an exquisitely illustrated picture book that follows Mei as she travels all over the Asia Pacific region to gather the team of heroic mermaids in order to stop the pirate from polluting. Can Mei and the MIRA mermaids stop the pirate in time? Over twenty sea animals and over twenty locations in Asia are introduced in this story, as well as Asian mermaid mythologies in the book's backmatter. Children and adults will delight in this cultural story emphasizing empathy, friendship, collaboration, and environmental protection.
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Meet the Author:

Crystal Z. Lee grew up in a bilingual household in Taiwan and in California. She is an avid traveler and has visited over thirteen countries in Asia. Her favorite travel memories include hiking the forests of Borneo, boating in Phuket, cruising down the Yangtze River, chasing butterflies in Taiwan, attending literary festivals in Hong Kong, and visiting family in Singapore. Crystal is the author of children's books A Unicorn Named Rin and Kai the Dancing Butterfly. Her poetry was recently included in the UK anthology, Tabula Rasa. She is also the author of a novel, Love and Other Moods.

connect with the author: website ~  instagram goodreads

Author Interview 

1.         You seem to have penchant for animals in all of your picture books. Why is that?

You’re right! My picture books, Mei's Mermaid Mission, Kai the Dancing Butterfly, and A Unicorn Named Rin include many animals. I believe that as stewards of the earth, humans have a responsibility towards other animals and creatures we share this planet with. I think children should be taught this great purpose from a young age.

2.         Tell us about your writing and publishing journey.

I started writing my first novel, Love and Other Moods, when I was still living in Taipei and Shanghai. Later when we moved back to California, I started taking publishing and writing courses at Stanford University. The pitching journey was challenging. I was first working with a US indie press and had landed a literary agent, but later I parted ways with both amicably. Then a British press accepted my manuscript and I've stayed with them since! My next three books were children's picture books: A Unicorn Named Rin, Kai the Dancing Butterfly, and Mei's Mermaid Mission. I also dabbled in other forms of literature such as poetry. Last year my poetry was accepted into a UK anthology, Tabula Rasa.

3.        What advice would you give to students who are aspiring writers?

Keep a journal; start as soon as you can form sentences. Read as much as you can. Be open to reading about unfamiliar cultures and places. And stay curious!

    4. How can Mei’s Mermaid Mission be utilized as an educational resource?

One of my mottos in selecting children’s books is “read the world.” Mei’s Mermaid Mission is for any student interested in learning about environmental protection, endangered marine animals, Asian mermaid mythologies, and unique destinations in Asia. It’s a book that can be utilized for multicultural studies, for animal science, and ecological studies.

    5. Reading your book is like taking a geography lesson! There are over 25 locations             mentioned in the Asia Pacific region. Do you have a favorite?

I adore all of these majestic vistas, so it’s hard to choose a favorite, but here are some places I think are extraordinary:

·  Belum Rainforest: Located near the border of Malaysia and Thailand, Belum Rainforest is one of the world’s oldest rainforests (even older than the Amazon and Congo). It hosts over ten of the world’s most threatened mammals, including Malayan tapirs and Indian elephants.

·        Orchid Island: Also known as Lanyu, Orchid Island is part of Taiwan and home to the Indigenous Tao people. The Tao people have a strong maritime culture and local legends of mermaids.

·        Coral Triangle: Indonesia is at the center of the Coral Triangle and boasts one of the richest marine biodiversity in the world. Over 75% of the world’s coral species are found in the Coral Triangle.

·  Sea of Stars: Part of the Maldives, the Sea of Stars is renowned for its bioluminescence, which occurs when light is emitted by planktons. The Maldives is one of six places in the world to regularly witness this natural phenomenon.

    6. Your book can also be a resource for children interesed in animal science, since it             mentions nearly thrity animals! Which ones stand out for you? 

·        Giant pacific octopuses are highly intelligent creatures that have nine brains; they have been known to recognize and hug people.

·        Dugongs are gentle marine mammals that help our earth’s climate by protecting seagrass meadows.

·        Komodo dragons are native to Indonesia and some scientists believe they are the closest living relatives to dinosaurs.

·   Saolas are one of the world’s rarest mammals and are also known as Asian unicorns. They resemble antelopes are native to Vietnam and Laos.

7. Have you been to some of the places mentioned in Mei's Mermaid Mission?

     Which is your most memorable trip? 

I’ve visited over thirteen countries in the Asia Pacific region, so yes, I’ve been on many trips in Asia! I grew up in Taipei, lived in Shanghai for years, and took annual trips to Japan and Singapore. I loved traveling to Korea’s Jeju Island, hiking the forests of Borneo, boating in Phuket, seeing historic relics in Vietnam.

Meet the Illustrator:

Allie Su was born and raised in a village in Yunlin county, Taiwan. She attended Nanhua University in Chiayi city, majoring in Visual Arts. Allie once lived in Korea for some time, volunteering in the area of animal protection. She loves kimchi, Korean saunas, Incheon's snowy winters, and taking boat rides to Yeouido. She believes in bringing joy to people through art. Allie has worked as a children's art teacher and a professional illustrator. She also illustrated a picture book about Taiwan, Kai the Dancing Butterfly.

Enter the Giveaway:
MEI'S MERMAID MISSION by Crystal Z Lee Book Tour Giveaway


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