San Diego Resident Publishes Children’s Book Celebrating Family Traditions and Patience
Proud first-generation immigrant, San Diego resident Helen H. Wu strives to carry on Chinese family traditions in her young children through unique stories.
“Tofu Takes Time,” a children’s book written by Wu, is slated for release on Tuesday. The book celebrates some of these family traditions, telling how a little girl named Lin and her grandmother, NaiNai, decided to make tofu from scratch.
“The idea for this book came from my own tofu-making experience with my grandmother when I was a kid,” Wu said.
During this time, Wu lived very close to her grandparents and remembers eating most of her family meals at their home when she was growing up.
“I often sat and watched her cook,” Wu added. “It’s a really sweet memory that always warms my heart, so when I had my own kids, they were by my side too. .and it reminded me of my (own experience).
Today, her book gives her children the chance to learn about the family tradition of making tofu, which Wu says “has been eaten in China for over 2,000 years and originated in China (formerly), then adopted in different cultures and appreciated by people all over the world.
Born and raised in Hefei province in China, Wu had a passion for writing and illustration since she was a young girl. But she never thought she could make a career out of it.
“Growing up in China, we didn’t have typical picture books — we just had these black and white comics,” Wu said. “Picture books were actually introduced in China there. about 20 years ago, so they’re pretty new.”
It wasn’t until after he got his master’s degree in economics and started working in marketing that Wu started learning graphic design.
“I thought it was very amazing to be able to draw in Photoshop, so I started drawing digitally and set up an online portfolio,” she added. “And to my surprise, someone came up to me and asked if I could illustrate his children’s book.”
Finally, Wu found the opportunity to pursue his passion for drawing and was able to immerse himself in learning the ins and outs of making a children’s book.
“Then when my son was born in 2014, I was inspired to write and illustrate my own picture books,” Wu said.
Since then, Wu has written 10 books and illustrated at least 20 more.
Wu says she likes to share inspiring stories from her own immigrant experience, so she was thrilled when the editor liked her tofu story.
“Tofu Takes Time” is more than just a book about a modern Chinese-American family learning how to make a simple dish. It’s about learning patience because, as the name suggests, some good things take time.
Wu says her own children, Kelsey, 6, and George, 7, taught her patience. It’s seeing them patiently listen to her stories, over and over again, that makes her most proud.
George and Kelsey agreed that while tofu can take a long time to make, it’s a fun family activity to do with their mom.
“I think picture books really have the potential to pass on joy from generation to generation, and it’s one of the few channels where kids can experience the world as they cuddle up on their parents’ lap. “Wu said.
Wu’s second children’s book is already in the works. She looks forward to sharing even more of her immigrant stories, which she hopes will help her children and other young readers learn “how to stay true to themselves and be proud of their cultural heritage, while having a sense of belonging to their new community. .”