As a group of avid readers in the LRP team we are very happy to have recently expanded our book offering online and in the showroom. We knew you would be interested in finding out more about some of the wonderful authors and illustrators who have created the ones we've selected. All books have a Hong Kong theme whether it be written or illustrated by someone who lives here or is about the city, the stories and the history of the place so many of us call home.
This time we meet author Andy Knight who wrote the lovely children's book Gailan's Special Job (illustrated by Natalie Hui whose work we also sell).
My parents met here in Hong Kong when my Dad was working on the Cross Harbour Tunnel then, after a lot of travelling, we settled back here when I was two. I've lived here basically ever since, even though I've tried to get away. Once to the UK - but I couldn't get used to the slower pace of life of London, and once to work in China - but I met my now wife and never actually left for the Mainland. So you can say this city has a hold on me! I love the fact that you can be surrounded by bright lights, vibrant crowds and shining skyscrapers one minute, but replace all of that with singing birds, dirt trails and dense forest the next.
The idea for Gailan's Special Job came from my daughter. One day after reading she asked me why we don't have stairs in our house or a garden. That made me realise most of our books didn't really look like anything she would recognise. Over the years I've also met many Hong Kong kids who are scared of dogs, cats, snakes, birds, and anything you could consider "wild". I figured I'd combine the two thoughts into one book. Something that was set in, but not explicitly about, Hong Kong, that incorporates the love of all animals that I feel and that I'd like my daughter to have too. The idea of every animal having a special job also allowed me to lightly introduce a theme of diversity, because not only does every animal have a name drawn from a different language, but each one is good at something unique. It shows that everyone, no matter how different, has something special to offer.
Favourite thing to do or see in Hong Kong
Unquestionably, anything outside. Rock climbing, trail running, coasteering, sailing, caving. If its outside I want to do it come rain or shine. This is a big part of why I love being in Hong Kong. There are few places in the world where you can coasteer on a sunny day, swim in the sea for 30 minutes, celebrate with an IPA at a beachfront restaurant, and get home in time to spend the afternoon with family.
Favourite thing to do with kids in Hong Kong?
What I love to see my daughter do even though I can't take part, is CrossFit. The sense of pride I feel when she smashes out pull-and flips tires cannot be put into words. Together I love taking her to ride bikes, swim in the sea, and go camping in the cooler months. It's a great chance for her to hang out with outdoorsy friends and cook food in the fire.