by Eva Wong Nava
About the Book
Moonbeam Children's Book Awards Bronze Medallist Winner for General Fiction
Open is a 10-year-old-boy with a curiosity for life and the things that happen around him. He is on the autism spectrum, loves to draw and is especially good at drawing monkeys.
When his class is chosen to put up a Chinese Opera based on the Monkey King and the Journey to the West, Open must find it in himself to overcome his obstacles and boldly step on stage. A heartwarming story about friendship beyond barriers, Open is a gift calling to the largeness of our hearts.
About the Author
Eva Wong Nava lives between two worlds. She reads copiously and writes voraciously. She holds a degree in English Literature and Language from the University of Hull where Philip Larkin was once the University Librarian (and the reason why she chose to study there!); a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from University College London where the Institute of Education resides, and a certificate in Art Writing which she undertook to better understand what the craft entails. She holds a M.A. in Art History and has taught children and adults how they can use writing for communication and play. She is the founder of CarpeArte Journal, an online space, which publishes works of fiction. Eva’s flash fiction have appeared in various places and her writing on art have been published in international art journals.
“Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure is an interesting depiction of Benjamin, a boy with autism and his journey discovering the joy of the Chinese performing art, wayang. At a deeper level, the story reflects how Benjamin’s parents care for and support him as they too embark on their own life journeys of self-discovery. People on the autism spectrum show varying degrees of challenges in social interaction, social communications and flexibility in thinking. They may be more or less cognitively able and verbal. Hence, one person with autism may be different from another. However, like the rest of us, they too want to feel safe and have people who understand and accept them for who they are. They too deserve equal access to a good education and other essentials in life. I congratulate the writer and the publisher for the production of the book. I urge all of its readers to help support inclusion and celebrate the abilities of all persons with autism and other special needs.”
—Denise Phua, President, Autism Resource Centre (Singapore)
“Wonderfully crafted. An eye-opening insight into the world of Autism Spectrum Disorders through the eyes of a child.”
—Edna McKinstry, MD
“In a concise and readable work, the author has brought together a meeting of two worlds. The rich and yet historical world of Chinese opera in the setting of a Singapore public school, the thoughts, feelings and interaction of a special needs individual meets that of a neurotypical world. The negativity and prejudices of some so called normal individuals are balanced by the understanding and sympathy of others. This story, though fictional, portrays some of the trials and tribulations of a special needs individual and debunks the misconception that such individuals usually lack knowledge acquisition or feelings. A commendable effort.”
—Dong, mother of a child on the autism spectrum
“Open offers readers a convincing and an unadulterated insight into the world of a special child. The intellect of the 10-year-old protagonist, interspersed with his struggles to interact with others around him and to express his innermost feelings and thoughts, draws the readers in at every juncture. It is a book that has to be read by everyone—adults, parents, children, teenagers and educators alike.”
—Claudine Fernandez, Ed. M (Harvard University), Founder of Artistic Strategies Academy
“I love how it portrays autism not as a sickness or a health condition. This book comes from a perspective of genuine affection, through the story, one realizes that autism, although some might think a burden. But when autism is sincerely understood and whole-hardheartedly embraced – you see autism as a gift, not a burden.”
—Marianne Inacay, Producer, Channel News Asia
“...a book with powerful lessons on friendship and self-transcendence ... Eva Wong Nava is a good writer and I enjoyed the simplicity of the prose and how the language conveys the thoughts of the protagonist. While this book is written for children, it has great lessons for adult readers, including the thought that we can always overcome our limitations and achieve more if we focus on reaching a better place in life.”
—Christian Sia, Readers' Favorite
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Dimension: 130mm x 200mm