Teen au­thor’s de­but book


A tal­ented East Auck­land teenager has writ­ten, il­lus­trated and self-pub­lished her own book.

Jen­nifer Cheuk, 17, penned the col­lec­tion of short sto­ries and po­ems en­ti­tled The Pe­cu­liar Thoughts of a Hum­ming­bird.

Cheuk, from How­ick, be­gan the adult’s an­thol­ogy at the mere age of 15, com­pil­ing 13 quirky tales that delve into the ideas of so­ci­ety, the per­spec­tive of chil­dren and multiculturalism.

‘‘I drew in­spi­ra­tion from Shaun Tan, an artist I really like; Kather­ine Mans­field; and all the other lit­tle ran­dom books I read when I was grow­ing up,’’ she says.

‘‘All of the pieces are really dif­fer­ent which is what I like. They are not all re­lated to the same theme or tied to­gether in some way. They’re just all lit­tle thoughts.’’

The home-schooled stu­dent also il­lus­trated the book and ar­ranged self-pub­li­ca­tion.

‘‘I wanted to be able to say I had done this rather than had help from other peo­ple,’’ she says.

‘‘It made it feel like more of an achieve­ment for me.’’

Cheuk says edit­ing the book was the most chal­leng­ing part.

‘‘It took so long and I needed to be so pa­tient. I was close to giv­ing up so many times, but I’m happy I got through.

‘‘I en­joyed the il­lus­tra­tions the most be­cause I had to pick out lit­tle things from each story and draw some­thing ab­stract that really cap­tured it.’’

Cheuk has been writ­ing for as long as she can re­mem­ber and is a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to High­land Park Li­brary.

Se­nior li­brar­ian Tina Brown says: ’’Jen­nifer has been com­ing to High­land Park Li­brary since she was a tod­dler and has al­ways joined in sum­mer read­ing pro­grammes, story times and school hol­i­days pro­grammes.

‘‘Her book is not only de­light­ful but also thought pro­vok­ing.’’

Cheuk is now study­ing lit­er­a­ture and lin­guis­tics at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land and has started on her sec­ond book.

‘‘The first one took so long to write that I ended up really de­spis­ing it, which is a typ­i­cal artist thing to do when you spend so much time on a work and then hate it af­ter­wards,’’ she says.

‘‘But that has really made me jump start on an­other book, so that’s some­thing I’m hope­ful for.’’

The Pe­cu­liar Thoughts of a Hum­ming­bird is avail­able on­line at www.wheel­ers.co.nz and for hire at Auck­land Coun­cil Li­braries.


.Jen­nifer Cheuk, 17, has pub­lished her first book, The Pe­cu­liar Thoughts of a Hum­ming­bird.

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