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British Columbia

Asian group out with book ahead of next BC Dumpling Fest in Coquitlam

The Lost Dumpling is the brainchild of author Kirstin Hepburn and was produced by the Asian Arts & Culture Society, which hosts the BC Dumpling Festival at Town Center Park in Coquitlam.

About a year and a half ago, Kirstin Hepburn won a competition to create characters and branding for Coquitlam’s first ever Dumpling Festival.

The event drew around 25,000 visitors to Town Center Park – many of whom fell in love with the Port Coquitlam resident’s digital artwork.

When the Asian Arts and Culture Society, which hosted the festival, asked Hepburn to recommend an author for a new children’s book, they raised their hand.

Finally, in addition to being able to illustrate, Hepburn also took a course in writing and marketing children’s literature during the pandemic.

Hepburn reached out to her “huge book collection” to figure out how to tell a story to a younger audience with her Dumpling characters.

“I just sat down one day and it tumbled out,” she said of the story, which flowed last fall.

“I used images from the festival as a reference.”

Titled The Lost Dumplingthe book – told in rhyming couplets – describes the journey of a Chinese dumpling that falls off a plate and bounces around the festival site in Town Center Park, meeting various dumplings along the way.

Hepburn said when she presented her draft to Society Chairwoman Gina Chong, she was in tears and overwhelmed by Hepburn’s narrative, which references the Society’s ongoing message of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Tomorrow (February 3rd) Hepburn and the Society will officially launch the children’s book from 6pm to 8pm at the Outpost (3001 St. Johns St.) in Port Moody

Copies of the book are available for a minimum donation of $15, and Filipino-style steamed buns – prepared by the famous Mr. Siopao De Langley – will be available for sale.

debut book

Aimed at children in kindergarten through grade 3, The Lost Dumpling “It’s a way for us to educate kids about multiculturalism,” said Chong, a graduate of Port Moody Secondary (Class of 1998), who has daughters ages seven and nine.

In addition to the story, the work also includes a glossary for young readers and their tutors to learn more about dumplings, and a pronunciation guide.

The book is the first for the nonprofit group, which raises funds through its signature festival and other multicultural activities in the Tri-Cities. (The next dumpling making class is on February 12; to secure a place email [email protected]).

Chong is hoping for more releases and soon a Coquitlam card – designed by Coquitlam artist Rose Kapp – for businesses.

Since last summer’s Dumpling Festival, Chong said, several business owners and entrepreneurs in the Tri-Cities have reached out to her to join with society to spread the word about multiculturalism.

“We want to continue to do more for the community.”

To learn more about the Asian Arts and Culture Society, sign up for an activity, or purchase The Lost Dumpling, visit asianartsculture.ca.

The second annual BC Dumpling Festival takes place on August 12th.

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