1. Please introduce yourself.
Hello, I'm Grace J. Choi (최주은), a 12-year-old South Korean author. I have two published books of my own and a co-author credit for another. My writing is heavily inspired by my unique experiences traveling to various countries starting from a young age, including Africa(Zimbabwe), South Korea, United States, Italy, and the UAE.
2. I wonder why a 12-year-old girl who could have spent more time with her friends came to write an exciting travel-related book based on her own character and illustrations. In particular, I heard that The Way out of Boredom 2: UAE is the sequel to The Way out of Boredom: Italy, which was released a year ago. Please give a brief introduction to your books as well.
Of course I love hanging out with my friends. However, writing this book didn't seem like it was taking away much time from me; instead, I saw it as a way to do something meaningful with the time that I might have otherwise “wasted”.
I initially got the idea for 「The Way Out of Boredom: Italy」 during the COVID pandemic period when people couldn't travel. I wanted to help those stuck at home feel like they were on a journey, experiencing the joy of travel. I wanted my book to be a way for readers to escape boredom and explore the wonders of Italy from the confines of their homes, especially when going out wasn't an option.
To briefly introduce my first book, 「The Way out of Boredom: Italy」 follows the story of a pink fluff ball, ‘The Very Bored Fluff Ball’, which is bored with everything it its life. One day, the stranger appears and sweeps the Fluff away on a 10-day adventure to Italy, in an attempt to cure it of its boredom.
As for my second book, it follows the story of ‘The Very Bored Butter Slice’, or Butter for short. The Butter eats, sleeps, and repeats, every single day, until the Fluff, the star of my previous book, shows up. The Fluff wants to help the Butter escape its monotonous life. The Fluff takes the Butter on a ten day trip to the UAE, exploring the seven emirates.
3. I heard that Joo Eun's first book, The Way out of Boredom: Italy, was introduced at the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF 2023) held in April. I understand that you had time to introduce characters in your work, make cookies, and interview writers. In addition to writing books, did you have any special reason to work as a kid chef, such as character design and confectionery. Bakery? Please also introduce your experience at the SCRF2023 Cooking Seminar.
At the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival (SCRF) in April, I had the opportunity to participate in two exciting events. The first event took place at the SCRF cooking corner, where I hosted a cooking session. During this session, I created ‘The Very Bored Fluff Ball’ cookies. I demonstrated the whole process of making them, and distributed these cookies while sharing a brief overview of my book and expressing my passion in a delicious way. The second event was an interview session moderated by MC where I had the opportunity to interact with children and respond to their questions.
In November, I conducted three workshops, including a book signing at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) for my latest release, 「The Way Out of Boredom 2」, and two sessions at House of Wisdom focusing on cooking and arts.
As for my special reason for my involvement in children’s cooking and art, it all stems from my mom. Since I was young, my mom organized cooking and art classes for me and my kindergarten friends. In fact, my mom has authored two books related to cooking and art for kids in Korean. The first one is titled 「세상에서 제일 맛있는 엄마표 요리놀이(2020) : Mom’s Culinary Delight : World’s Most Delicious Cooking Play」, and the second one, co-authored with me, is 「엄마의 아트 레시피(2023) : Mom’s Art Recipe」. These experiences have played a significant role in shaping my interests.
4. The basic concept of the books published so far seems to have been based on Joo Eun's experience living in another country (UAE), and what message did she want to convey to her peers or readers through these books?
I wrote my books for two main reasons. First, I wanted to inspire people who might be feeling stuck in one place in their lives. I believe that traveling is a powerful cure for boredom and a fantastic way to discover wonders of the world. Next, I wanted my second book to be a fun introduction to the UAE. Ever since I came to this country, I have been fascinated by the culture, landmarks, and natural beauty, and I wanted to share that fascination with others.
5. The Way out of Boredom has already been published in 1.2 volumes for Italy and the UAE, signaling that it will continue as a series in the future. Can you briefly introduce where you want to continue the sequel and your plans for writing it in the future?
As someone who relocates every 2 to 3 years with my parents, I want to include my experiences from each new home country in the series. I hope to tell stories about unique wonders, cultures, and adventures in each place where I live. This way, I'll have a collection of different stories that show my characters’ journey around the world, which represent my alter-ego. I also plan to go back and write stories from the countries where I had lived before. Get ready for more fun adventures in the next books of the series!