A Journey Begins

Oi interviews children’s book author Debbie Solomon (www.debbiesolomon.com) about Journey to the River of Perfumes, her first book that was inspired about her visits to Vietnam

How did the idea of a children’s book come about?

I wrote the initial version of Journey as a class project in graduate school in 1999. I was in a program called TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in the school of education. One of the class requirements was to write a big book for children in an ESL classroom.

Why did you choose Vietnam, and specifically Hue, as the setting of your first children’s book?

I had visited Vietnam 2 years prior. The trip made such an impression on me that I chose it as the backdrop for my first book. I specifically chose Hue because it left a lasting impression on me with its amazing sites. I could imagine how life was back in the days of the Emperor. It just seemed so majestic to me. I wanted children to learn a little about what I learned in Hue.

Who is Lan?

Is she based on any of your daughters or any real person in your life? The name Lan is the name of a Vietnamese friend from years back. I always loved that her name meant “flower.”

Why did you change the name of The Perfume River to River of Perfumes?

I just liked the way that the words flowed (like a river) for my title, so I changed it a bit.

How much of Lan’s adventures are your own?

Lan’s journey is like my own life’s journey when I was in my 20s and 30s. I spent many years away from home traveling the world, learning new things and meeting lots of interesting people. Through my experiences I gained a deeper appreciation of life and my family.

Like me, Lan returned from her journey. Like me, Lan realized how much her mother taught her through life and how much she appreciated her after I ventured out on my own. I always had a wonderful relationship with my mother so I dedicated this book to her.

What lessons do you want children to get from reading the book?

Wishes are not always for tangible things. Helping others can bring one satisfaction and joy. Children should think about those that help them in their lives and learn to appreciate them.

Journey inside

How did you work with the artist (who lives in Italy) to get the right scenery and characters for the book?

I scanned original photographs from my trips in Vietnam for the illustrator to study prior to painting the images in the book. So, the pictures are very authentic.

What can children learn about Vietnam from Journey to the River of Perfumes?

Children can learn about the landscape of Hue and other parts of rural Vietnam. How Hue is an ancient city in Vietnam with amazing architecture. Children can learn about lotus flowers, lifestyle of the people, how they plant rice, fish, etc. They can notice the dress with non la. The ubiquitous pho noodle soup. They can see the water buffalo. Each page lends itself to something in Vietnamese culture. Also their strong sense of family.

 

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

What Do You Need to Think About Before Getting a Dog?

may one day decide to buy or adopt a dog and make it a member of your family. Perhaps your children have been requesting it for a long time, and you have finally consented, or perhaps it’s something you’ve always desired but have never been able to do before. Perhaps it’s because you’re lonely or

Read More »

Hidden Dangers If You Don’t Treat Spider Veins On Time

When the veins close to our skin’s surface get twisted or become enlarged, it results in varicose veins. These bluish purple looking veins are not only unappealing to the eyes, but if left untreated, they can lead to serious medical issues. Every year, a lot of people face the issue of varicose veins. Even though

Read More »

Get Treated In AmSpa Certified Clinic

We live in a rich society. The average income has become higher, medical care has developed, technical progress and the digital revolution have given us many comforts. The downside, is performance pressure, a fast-paced life, and stress. In the long run, these factors can affect our bodies and damage our health. At the same time,

Read More »

Online Learning & Increased Success In The Classroom

Online learning is not a new concept, but as we all learned from the pandemic, the online education platform skyrocketed in use as in-person learning was no longer a possibility. There are many positives to online learning, and its popularity will continue to increase as technology and education styles evolve. If you have ever wondered

Read More »

How To Find The Right Botox Specialist

Botox is the most popular aesthetic procedure in the world. It has become very common to get botox treatments to look younger, brighter, and better in life, irrespective of age. Botox treatments are surgically done for various purposes. When it comes to delicate skin care treatments like botox, it is vital that you pick the

Read More »

Different Fat Removal Treatment Options To Go For

Suffering from obesity is very common these days. Because of our lifestyle and eating habits, we tend to gain extra weight. Most of the time, people fail to burn stubborn fat even after exercising for hours. Taking medical help is the only option left for this group of people. Thankfully, there are many surgical and

Read More »