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  • Writer's pictureRebekah Qu

Love to Sing: Bilingual Song Books in Vietnamese and Cantonese - Creator Q&A

Love to Sing Vietnamese and Cantonese song books

Introducing "Love to Sing," a Kickstarter campaign by Yanna and Lee, parents and creators of bilingual song books!

This campaign, which recently earned Kickstarter's coveted "Projects We Love" badge features two bilingual song books. The Cantonese & English book features six nursery rhymes, sung by professionals in Cantonese with bilingual Cantonese and English lyrics, accompanied by adorable illustrations of animal friends exploring Hong Kong. Similarly, the Vietnamese & English book offers a musical journey through Vietnam.

Love to Sing Cantonese book
Love to Sing Vietnamese book

"Love to Sing" books seek to engage, entertain, and educate through adorable illustrations, beautiful songs, and bilingual language exposure. The Kickstarter campaign is currently live and runs through February 15 at 9am EST.

Love to Sing creators Yanna and Lee with their son
Love to Sing creators Yanna and Lee with their son

Thank you to Yanna and Lee for taking the time to participate in this virtual Q&A!

What/who inspired you to create Love to Sing books?

Our son Luca is the inspiration for all of this. Raising him multilingual was always a priority for us.

What do you do when you’re not working on Love to Sing books?

Yanna is a stay-at-home Mom who spends her "free time" with such hobbies as playing with Luca, cooking for Luca, reading with Luca, and buying cute clothes for Luca. One day she will get back to her favorite hobby, traveling, but with Luca.

Lee is an artist who has been working in the video game industry for over ten years. He spends his "free time" bringing Luca to the playground and trying to teach his son how to play musical instruments to fulfill his lifelong dream of being in a family band. He's an avid fly fisherman and hopes Luca will join him one day at the river.

Can you tell us about your creative process? How did you come up with the ideas for your books (i.e. characters, songs, format, languages)?

We started with the music. We wanted to bring our loved songs from our childhood to the books. For a few songs, we took the melody of classic English language nursery rhymes and wrote new lyrics in Cantonese.

The creation of Love to Sing

We designed the characters from the lyrics in the songs. Một Con Vịt has a duck, so we made a duck; 何家公雞何家猜 has a rooster, so we made a rooster. For each book, Yanna created a storyline around the songs, creating a journey through Vietnam or Hong Kong, for the Vietnamese and Cantonese books, respectively. For each page, she created a scenario, and Lee drew the composition. We wanted to have each journey take place during one full day, with the first song during the sunrise, and the final song during the night.

Love to Sing character design

We usually worked at night, after our son had gone to bed. We sat together and hashed out ideas on the fly, creating in real time.

You are raising your son to be trilingual (English, Vietnamese, and Cantonese). Why do you think it’s important for us to pass along culture and language to our children?

We feel lucky to have grown up with Asian and western culture in the same space. One culture does not take over the other; they add to each other and create richness in our lives that we are grateful for. We want to pass Chinese and Vietnamese culture on to our children so they can experience the same fullness in their lives that we were so fortunate to have. We believe that culture cannot be completely passed down without knowledge of language. It's important to us that our children be able to experience the world around them in the different ways that multilingualism allows.

How do your books engage young language learners?

Kids really love to sing along. We wanted the best music possible from the beginning so we worked tirelessly with our music team to put together some really catchy songs that kids respond to. We paired that with some very beautiful vocals from professional singers. We also set out to make each page a full page illustration, bursting with color, to really give kids a lot to take in visually.

Why did you choose a song/sound book format?

We love music and Lee especially loves to sing to Luca. Singing makes learning fun. It also makes learning easier in the case of tonal languages like Cantonese and Vietnamese. The songs are designed to match the tones of the words so learning becomes a more natural experience for children (and also adults trying to wrap their heads around tones).

You have an amazing creative team of artists and musicians. How did you find them? What challenges have you had to overcome collaborating across several different countries and time zones?

We are artists ourselves and we were lucky to have a friend who is an amazing composer and concertmaster. From her connections we were able to find our Cantonese singer. And we were very lucky to connect with our Vietnamese musician online.

The challenge of working in different time zones was that we had only a very small overlap of time in each day where we could work together. There was a lot of waiting for replies, even if it was urgent.

The Love to Sing Team

What challenges have you faced in your journey as a children's book and/or Kickstarter campaign creator, and how did you overcome them?

There were so many challenges. We can get into some of them in detail.

There's a deep technical part to creating sound books, especially because we wanted to create our own electronic sound module. We wanted our music to sound great so we invested in the best internal electronics and speaker we could fit in the custom plastic housing we designed. We also wanted our product to be durable and safe for kids of all ages. Yanna even travelled to China to help fine tune the electronics to iron out the many problems with the sound quality.

One of the biggest challenges we faced was finding the right singers for our songs. We couldn't believe we had to have auditions. We tried a lot of different singers and couldn't quite get it right. We were even cold calling people on YouTube, hoping to find the perfect vocalist for our kids songs. In the end, we just got lucky, and we're so grateful that we have two wonderful singers who brought our songs to life.

One more challenge, which was definitely the biggest one, was raising our infant child during this whole process. We made no sacrifices in our parenting and also in our effort on the books. The only sacrifice was our sleep! We believed in each other and worked as a team, but it was our son that gave us the motivation to push through the hard work.

Is there anything else I didn’t ask about that you’d like to share?

We'd like to thank our music team, who made such beautiful music that we can't wait for kids all around the world to enjoy. Firstly, our friend and Cantonese music producer, Mei-Ying Tam. Secondly, our amazing Cantonese vocalist, Angela Hung. And lastly, our Vietnamese musician and vocalist, Huong Su. Also Mei-Ying Tam and Kay Chan contributed original lyrics for two Cantonese songs.

Join this musical adventure, contribute to the campaign, and bring the joy of "Love to Sing" to children worldwide! Back the project on Kickstarter by February 15 at 9am EST to get these lovely books, as well as other goodies, such as vinyl stickers, red envelopes, enamel pins, and a canvas tote bag!

1 Comment

May 20

Like the book but the web site is not trusted. No email address no store address. No where to ask questions. If listed on Amazon is better', I will buy even high price

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