(c) 2009, 48 pgs., paperback, $12.00
From the Author: Rosanna Porter
Tofu Ling and the Angel uses the December multi-cultural holiday celebrations as a backdrop to tell the story of Tofu when he becomes ill with a serious illness. As you read the story, there is no mention of Tofu's exact illness and what the special medicine is that he needs. The focus was not meant to be on a specific illness, but rather on the love, support, strength, faith, and courage that families use to overcome a serious illness. As you read the stories of the children, it is my hope that you see the children for their uniqueness. The parents have not let the children's illness define who they are, instead their qualities and personalities is what defines them. The angels in the story are Lila, Lu, and all of the family and friends that provided Tofu with the strength to recover. Tofu is also an angel for enduring all that he had to in order to get well. Tofu was a source of inspiration just as Lila, Madison, and Tobias have been for their families and all who have met them. I hope that all who read this story are inspired by these angels.
The book is meant to be a read-to-me story and that is why the vocabulary is a higher level than the average children's book. I believe that it is important that a higher vocabulary be modeled for children to cultivate their literary knowledge. The size of the book was selected so that while reading the story Lynda's breathtaking illustrations surround the reader to create a full experience of beauty and literature.
Although the story can be read at one sitting, I hope that adults/parents will read the book over several days. Breaking the story down into several sittings allows children to contemplate what will happen next and learn that stories do not have to culminate in fifteen minutes. When children reach the third and fourth grade many of them struggle with the concept of chapter books. It is my hope that this will also help them to understand the concept of a theme developing over several days of reading.
I also hope adults/parents will continue to read to children even after they have learned to read. Time spent reading together is priceless.
From the Illustrator: Lynda Porter
As I approached this special story, I was struck by the sweet, heartfelt sincerity of the theme. The story deals with multi-cultural celebrations and the sharing of customs, but the unexpected turn of the story is one which many, in any culture, sometimes share at some point in their lives. Within our family, it rings close to home and therefore the story holds significance to me.
In illustrating the book, I focused on the magical, beautiful impressions of angels among us, and how they impact our lives. Although Tofu saw Lila, as the angel from the Christmas tree in the artist's studio; she revealed that it was her caring and steadfast friendship that truly gave her wings of an angel.
The imagery of the crane, both in origami and in stylized reality, represented to me, hope, prayer, and 'wishes come true.' In the same style that images were implemented in Tofu Ling and the Carp Banner and Tofu Ling, the images of the crane were placed mindfully as a strengthening presence for Tofu and his family.
One cannot help but keep the images of loved ones in mind as we read this story and bring it home to our own hearts. The true angels are the little ones and their families who have the strength to bear angels' wings on their shoulders while dealing with life threatening illness. I dedicate these illustrations to these angels among us.