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.