3-Minute Interview: Oliver Chin

The San Francisco resident is a children’s author who annually crafts tales incorporating animals of the Chinese zodiac. His latest offering, “Year of the Rat,” tells the tale of Ralph, a baby rat seeking out mischief and adventure. “Year of the Rat” follows Chin’s previous Chinese zodiac-themed stories, “Year of the Pig” (2007) and “Year of the Dog” (2006). Since publishing his latest book in December, Chin has held readings of “Year of the Rat” at local community centers, bookstores and schools.

Most of your earlier writing samples dealt with grown-up themes. What incurred the transition into creating children’s tales? Having my two children [Lucas, 5, and Eli, 2] changed everything. I wanted them to hear a children’s tale that touched upon Chinese culture, but I also wanted the story to have some very universal themes. I felt like too many stories about Chinese traditions were the same; I wanted to mix it up a little.

Do the main characters in your stories take on themes of their particular zodiac sign? I really try to incorporate some of the traditional characteristics of each year’s zodiac into the stories, to give them a sense of uniqueness.

How have you been able to grab the attention of children when you’re reading to them? It’s always tough, but when I’m reading, I have a projector posting big displays of the pictures from my books. The visuals usually work wonders in keeping their attention on me. By and large, I try to talk to them on their level, because I know it can be difficult to sit down and listen to a book when you’re an 8-year-old.

The Year of the Ox is coming up next. How are plans coming along for that book? That’s what I’m working on right now. It’s always a race against the clock to have the next book ready for next year.

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Asian American youth report anger, sadness and fear over surge in racist behavior

Survey finds about 80 percent experienced bullying or verbal harassment

Catholic church leads protest of COVID-19 restrictions

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone led march from City Hall, outdoor masses

Court prevents Trump administration from blocking WeChat pending hearing

Late Saturday night, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary… Continue reading

San Francisco Symphony, Opera musicians settle contracts

Performers’ salaries modified due to inability to play live

The first ever virtual Emmys were the perfect awards for our times

By Meredith Blake Los Angeles Times “Succession,” “Watchmen” and “Schitt’s Creek” were… Continue reading

Most Read