Summoning the Phoenix Received a Starred Review from Kirkus!

I’m delighted and thrilled to share that my first picture book Summoning the Phoenix has received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews!  This the first book review for both April and myself AND it’s the first Kirkus starred review for our book’s first editor Renee Ting and for our publisher Shen’s Books, the newest imprint of Lee & Low Books.  Special thanks to our book’s second editor Louise May for her eagle eyes and Hannah and the wonderful marketing staff at Lee & Low.  Summoning the Phoenix is not even officially published yet, and it’s wonderful to know that someone out there likes it.

The Kirkus reviewer calls Summoning the Phoenix an “informative and gracefully illustrated twin debut” and says:

“From the booming paigu to the delicate strings of the ruan, the lutelike pipa and the yangqin, or hammered “butterfly harp,” a lively medley that will expand the musical boundaries of most young audiences.”

Read the entire starred review at Kirkus!

5 Tiny Flash USBs Perfect for Travel

When I travel, I love having the opportunity to write anywhere. This means I also need access to my files anywhere I go. While the cloud is convenient, it requires reliable internet connection, which isn’t always possible. So I researched my options take my files with me pretty much everywhere I go.

Here are five tiny, super portable solutions for storage:

Kingston Digital 32GB DataTraveler Micro USB 2.0 (DTMCK/32GB)

This little flash drive comes with a cover to protect the drive and is one of the smallest USB drives available.


SanDisk Cruzer Fit 32 GB x2 = 64GB USB Flash Drive SDCZ33-032G-B35-2PK w/ Everything But Stromboli (TM) Lanyard

Like the Kingston DataTravler, the San Disk Cruzer has a tiny base and a tiny cover.  But this one comes with a lanyard so it’s easier to find.

LaCie PetiteKey USB Flash Drive can fit on your keyring and looks like a tiny key!  So cute!!  It’s made of stainless steel, so it won’t break off your keychain.  Currently available in different storage capacities of 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB.

LaCie CooKey USB 2.0 Flash Drive uses the same concept as the PetiteKey, but slightly bigger in size.  There’s an option to unlock your computer using this USB key.


AirStash® A02 SD Card Flash Drive for iPad, iPhone, Android (memory card not included)

This gadget is not flash drive, but it’s so cool, and unlike the other options, it has a potentially longer usage life because it uses SD cards.  The AirStash creates its own wireless network so that whatever is stored on the SD card can be accessible to up to 8 devices total, while data streaming is limited to 3 devices.  So 3 phones and/or tablets can stream 3 movies from the AirStash.  It’s a bit pricey, and you need to provide your own SD cards, but if you’re traveling around, it could make a super useful tool to share photos, music, movies.

I love traveling with these tiny drives!