Famous for Amos
Published on 2 October 2014
The Diary of Amos Lee propelled her to household name status, but bestselling author Adeline Foo stays grounded on why she writes for children and young adults.
BY pamela ho
“I actually wrote The Diary of Amos Lee to get my son Ben to read,” Adeline Foo, 43, reveals with a chuckle. “It’s a family project of sorts. My kids give ideas and test-read my manuscripts to see if my jokes are lame or cool.”
First published in 2009, all eight titles in the series have made The Straits Times’ national bestseller list for more than 88 weeks. The first book, I Sit, I Write, I Flush! won several awards, including a children’s choice award for Best Junior Fiction 2009.
“As a children’s book author, I feel it’s my responsibility to get kids to fall in love with reading,” says the mother of three children, aged 14, 11 and 9. “My husband always reminds me of this when I get discouraged or unmotivated to write. He calls it building good karma.”
A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Adeline’s career in writing started when she won a writing competition in 2006, and had her story published. This quickly spiralled to 24 published books (including 13 picture books), three animation shorts, and a 10-part TV series on OKTO.
“My royalties aren’t fantastic, but I get by,” she admits with a laugh, adding that it’s not the money that matters but her mission to get reluctant readers to read.
The compliment she holds closest to her heart comes from a Secondary 2 schoolboy who was introduced to The Diary Of Amos Lee by his classmate in Primary 6. “It was the first book he ever completed reading on his own, and it prompted him to read more,” she beams. “He told me he wouldn’t have passed his PSLE English otherwise.”
And that trumps being famous any day.