World Rivers Day Authors

Canadian-Taiwanese musician Ginalina launches her début book ‘The Mighty River’


Canadian-Taiwanese musician Ginalina has always been vocal about conservation of the ecosystem; her love for Nature is reflected in most of her songs. Unsurprisingly, her début children’s book The Mighty River (Peppermint Toast Publishing) touches upon a similar subject. The book is to be launched on September 27 on the occasion of World Rivers Day. Inspired by her song, ‘Save The Mighty River’ from the album Small but Mighty, the book introduces children to the importance of rivers and the common animals found in British Columbia, Canada.

Excerpts from an e-mail interview.

How does the transition from a musician to an author feel?

I wanted to present kids with art that will inspire and challenge them to see themselves as part of the solution to some of the world’s ecological problems. After being a singer-songwriter for twenty years, it feels very natural to be an author. At the centre of The Mighty River is a sense of community and interdependence — humans with humans, humans with Nature, Nature with animals, animals with rivers, etc.

I have always enjoyed capturing a moment, story, or idea through music and books. The most important thing is that my work is true to myself and that it can resonate with my audience. My collaboration with illustrator Kelley Wills felt like working with a music producer; it needs openness, patience, and trust to develop a connection.

Book cover

Book cover  

Tell us about the song that inspired you to write this book.

I met Mark Angelo, who is a river conservationist, in 2018. I was impressed by his vision and work to protect fresh waterways. That was what urged me to learn more about rivers and their ecology. It made me imagine the river as a wise and compassionate being, beckoning humans to protect her, which then resulted in the song Save the Mighty River. As it has a lot of imagery, I felt that it could be translated into a book. I adapted the words to suit a more lyrical read-aloud style for the book.

What is it about eco-literature that attracted you? Why is this genre important in today’s world?

Over the last 40 years, freshwater species have lost over 80 percent of their population due to pollution, overfishing, and habitat loss. As a parent of four kids, I hope that rivers will still be beautiful when my kids have grown up. I believe that eco-literature promotes healthy relationships with Nature, and such efforts will have a positive ripple effect.

What were the challenges you faced during the process of writing the book?

I wanted to reproduce images of specific animals and plants of British Columbia in my book. The biggest challenge was to research on the ecology on the rivers in the area. I had a clear idea of the kind of layout and illustration that I wanted. Kelley and I spent one month documenting and trading notes. This project introduced me to many new plants and animals in my areas like the skunk cabbage, weaver spider, and Sculpin fish.

Canadian-Taiwanese musician Ginalina launches her début book ‘The Mighty River’

Which are your favourite children’s books?

I love Julie Flett’s works. Her illustrations are sensitive and emotive. I have two of her prints framed in my house. I also relate well to her themes of community and inter-generational relationships. Another book on my bookcase is An Egg Is Quiet, by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long. I have read it over twenty times and it never fails to inspire me to pay closer attention to my outside world.

Now that your first book is out, what next?

I hope there will be another book to talk about next year. For me, the messages of The Mighty River — connecting with Nature and each other — is important. I am looking forward to celebrating those ideas with others. I learned so much during the process that now, being a children’s author feels like something I was always meant to do.

Visit or to order a copy. Ten percent of the proceeds from the book sale will be donated to A ROCHA Canada Environmental Stewardship for the conservation of waterways.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 8:50:40 PM |

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