was founded from a passion for reading.

Before my life was blessed with children, I devoted much of my leisure time to reading. On lazy weekend afternoons, I enjoyed hugging a good book on the couch, while sipping on a cold drink. My reading list would please any English teacher or professor, for I only have an appetite for books that are well written.

I love classical literature. I have read and re-read the classics by Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Leo Tolstoy, etc. One of my favorite books is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I have read this book 3 times post college, and even named my second child after one of the book’s main characters. Friends used to joke about only buying me a book if its author is dead.

Actually, I have enjoyed a number of books by alive and well authors as well. I loved John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany; The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee; The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and recently I even branched out to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy by Stieg Larsson, and loved it.

When my two children came along, I found that I had virtually no free time left for myself, and had to put reading on hold for a few years. But having children introduced me to the fascinating world of children’s books.

When my first child was born, friends and family far and near sent us gifts, and many were baby books. We got a total of 7 new copies of Goodnight Moon!! I got the hint that Goodnight Moon must be special. And it was!! It was my baby’s favorite book. The first and only book that was able to capture my infant’s attention. As I read the simple text on each page, I found my 2-month-old stared at the pages with purpose. I think it was the black and white, and the bold red and green colors that attracted my baby. It was this book that kicked started our family’s nightly reading routine.

Goodnight Moon’s favorite status was long lasting. Despite the fact that we quickly built up a huge library of picture books, Goodnight Moon was tirelessly requested and read well into my baby’s toddler years. My favorite memory of this book was when my child was two, and my mother-in-law came to visit. At bedtime, my mother-in-law offered to read to my child. When I walked by, I heard my two-year-old reading Goodnight Moon word for word and page by page in that cute baby tongue to Grandma! (From memory of course! My 2-year-old could not read.) Even today, whenever I see the familiar Goodnight Moon book cover, I react with special warmth for the book.

A good friend from Taiwan often visited and stayed with us in the summer over the years. She always brought books over for my kids. She is a mother too, and gave us really good books. It was then that I recognized the added bonus of reading to my children in Chinese, especially the old favorites from my own childhood.

Our nightly reading ritual was a much cherished part of our everyday family life. And there is no getting away with reading for just 5 or 10 minutes with my kids. They expect to read until the wee hours every night. They were good at taking turns begging for just one more book.

Reading to the kids was always a blast! It was hardly an event to induce sleepiness, especially when they were younger. I often made special sound effects for them, and the children often participated in acting out the scenes in the books in their silly and sometimes frivolous ways. I used my children’s names instead of the names given on the book, and the kids loved being the main characters in their favorite stories. Once in a while, I would surprise them by making up a twisted ending of my own to their favorite books, and watch their little frowning faces fade into giggles.

My children are older now. They are no longer easily impressed by the silly twists I could throw into the books. Actually, they are good readers themselves now. At bedtime, they can just grab their books and go upstairs without me. But they still do need me!! They can’t read Chinese. They still recruit me to go upstairs to read them the next chapter in their Journey to the West book, the next story in the Chinese History Stories. My 7-year-old has an unusual fascination with scary stories, and is anxiously waiting for me to start reading stories from the Strange Tales of Ancient China book.

In 2006, I quit a career I loved to start my own company with a great deal of uncertainty. Today, I love what I do now even more. I feel very blessed and lucky to have founded I still get childishly excited when I come upon a good book. I still get to read with my children, and even have time to start reading to myself again.

Garage Warehouse in 2006

Expanded Warehouse in 2011

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