just 1 book: illustrator ken min (& signed book giveaway!)

I’m so excited about this just 1 book post by illustrator Ken Min! Ken is fabulously talented and has his first book, written by F. Zia and published by Lee & Low Books, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji is going to be released in just a few weeks.  But Ken Min and  Lee & Low Books have offered to give TWO teach mama readers their very own signed copy–hot off the presses!

This new book focuses on little Aneel, whose grandparents have come all the way from India to stay with his family. Aneel loves the sweet smell of his grandmother’s incense, and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tells the world’s best stories.  Aneel tries to find out if his Dada-ji still has the “power of a tiger” given to him when he ate “fluffy-puffy hot, hot roti, with a bit of tongue-burning mango pickle”, as Aneel figures out how to make a batch of hot, hot roti for his grandfather.

With fab illustrations, a strong story, and a food-focus, this book sounds like it’s right up my family’s alley–can’t wait to get my hands on it and try some hot, hot roti ourselves!

about the author: Ken Min studied illustration at Art Center, College of Design and has worked as a storyboard artist for animation and various commercial houses. He has been recognized for his portfolio work at various SCBWI regional events and was runner up in the portfolio display at the 2008 National Conference in Los Angeles. He recently illustrated the title HOT, HOT ROTI FOR DADA-JI for Lee & Low Books.

I absolutely love  how one incident, one book moved Ken to become interested in children’s literature and to begin a career in illustrating.  It always amazes me to see what it takes for a person to stumble upon his or her life’s work. . .


  • just one book: illustrator guest post by Ken Min

You know how there are benchmark moments in your life, periods that define you and mold you into the person that you are? This is one of those moments for me.

I used to work at a retail bookstore. This is going to sound terrible, but no one wanted to go into the children’s section. It was always a big mess. The clerks drew straws to see who had to clean it up.

One day I drew the short straw and it was my time in the trenches. As I’m straightening up the section, trying to find some ‘order’ to the chaos, I spot this book on the floor by my feet.  It was the miniaturized version of George Shrinks by William Joyce.

If you aren’t familiar with the title, it is a story about a boy who wakes up one day and finds he is about 4” tall. He shrank overnight. And the story, as it plays out, is a note from his folks telling him things he needs to do during the day. Just some random, ordinary chores to be completed. But at 4” tall, things take on a whole new perspective. Try brushing your teeth when the head of the toothbrush is bigger than your head. But when it comes to washing the dishes or feeding the fish, one can make quite an adventure out of these simple tasks. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is fun!”

At that moment I really took notice of all the books around me. There were titles like The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith), Tuesday (by David Weisner) and many others. Just a lot of really wonderful, creatively engaging new books which have a great artistic component to them. Of course, at the time, I was mainly familiar only with the titles from my childhood, so looking at all these new works was rather eye-opening. So much so, that I started thinking that I wanted to be a part of this, that I wanted to illustrate a picture book.

It took me a few years, but I succeeded in my goal. This spring marks the debut of my first picture book- Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji. I’m really excited by it and it probably would not have come to pass without a bit of inspiration and gentle prodding from George (by way of William Joyce).

Thank you so much, Ken Min, for guest posting for us! I wonder how your story will inspire others to follow their interests and dreams! It surely inspires me!

GIVEAWAY: TWO signed copies of Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji of your very own!

Do you want to win one of two signed copies of Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia and illustrated by Ken Min?

  • Leave a comment here (along with your email address) simply sharing why your family–or students–need a copy of Hot, hot Roti for Dada-ji.
  • For extra entries,  you can share this post with a friend (just tell me who you shared it with!) OR Tweet this: Win a HOT off the presses signed book by Ken Min on @teachmama  http://teachmama.com/?p=1846 #weteach #ece

This contest ends on Monday, MAY 2, 2011 at midnight ET.


Do you want to share a book that moved you? Let me know!

The just 1 book feature gives everyone a chance to share their love of literature and the power of books. Guest writers are invited to share a book that moved him or her:

‘all it took was just 1 book’. . . to get you thinking, get you moving, get you arts-and-crafting, get you talking, get you writing, get you counting, get you traveling, get you thinking, get you cookin‘, dancin’ or dreamin‘.

And if you’re interested in guest posting for the just 1 book series, please let me know! Anyone and everyone is welcome; just drop me an email at teachmama@verizon.net




  1. says

    I just discovered your blog (where have I been?) and love the “just 1 book” that moved you. I have to say To Kill a Mockingbird is my one book (if I have to choose just one) that had the most impact on me as a teenager. Even today when I share it with my high school students year after year it still has the same emotional impact. It’s a wonderful thing to know that a book truly can move people in ways they will remember forever.
    Thanks for having the giveaway! I just tweeted your message, as well. :)

    • amy says

      oh my gosh, Tracee–how awesome of you to write! Hit me with an email, my friend, and you can share how TKAM impacted your life–SAME with me–and it was always one of my most favorite texts to teach to my students, too! LOVE it!

    • Laura Velazquez says

      I would love to receive a signed copy of the book, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji – Spicy food, Hindu philosophy and yoga – that’s what’s up! I will zip right through it and then share it with my granddaughter via Skype and my elementary students!

  2. Katie says

    I would love to have this book for my daughter. We are going to study geography next year, and I want books from or about each country we are going to study. Our library’s resources are limited so this would be a true blessing!

  3. nancy says

    We would love this book, we have been trying to introduce new foods and I really want to get my kids to try indian food. This would help us! Thanks,

  4. says

    It’s neat to see what inspired you Ken. I’ll def. keep my eye out for George Shrinks next time I’m browsing B&N. The big shadow and feeling of the cover reminds me of your artwork.. I think I’ve decided I like big looming shadows. 😀

    • amy says

      Ken! You can play in our sandbox any day of the week! Many thanks for writing, and I’m so glad we have connected!

  5. Yvonnee says

    I would love a copy of this book to share with the teachers and students that I work with.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  6. Jaynee says

    Would absolutely love to win this book. My 4-yr old loves to cook, and am hoping to teach some “around-the-world” cooking classes with him this summer. Thanks!

  7. christine Franck says

    I want this book–I have developed my own unit about the world, and ALWAYS need more books! Plus I lived in India for a year and love Roti!

  8. says

    We would love this book! Our town has a large Indian population, and it’s a group that seems very under-represented in Children’s picture books in the US. Plus, the story in this book sounds great!

  9. Megan burris says

    Why would I love to win a free copy…? 1. I do not have enough to buy it at this time.
    2. I have an 11 Yr old, 6 Yr old and 4 Yr old. Enough said right :)
    3. A few yrs ago I would not have any thing negative to say about the type of mother I was. A couple of yrs ago I almost died and since becoming healthy I can feel a drastic change in my feelings and parenting skills/ abilities and can see changes in all 3 of my children. I would love any chance/ ability to improve our lives together. Thank you Megan Burris burrisashlock@sbcglobal.net 1-209-200-3500


  1. […] I suppose you could say I had one of those moments of epiphany a few years back. I used to work at a bookstore and one day it was my turn to clean up the kid’s section. This was considered a bad assignment because the kid’s area always fell apart, really fast, several times during the day. As I’m working to straighten it up, I came across a copy of George Shrinks by William Joyce. The cover caught my attention and I started flipping through it and thinking how fun it was. At that moment I really took notice of all the books around me. There were titles like The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith), Tuesday (by David Weisner) and many others. Just a lot of really wonderful, engaging new books which were exquisitely illustrated. At the time, I was mostly familiar with the titles from my childhood, so looking at all these new works was rather eye opening. It was really in that moment that I started thinking- I want to illustrate a picture book one day. (PAULA’S NOTE: Ken also discussed this process in detail at another great blog if you would like to see more about this here: http://teachmama.com/2011/04/just-1-book-illustrator-ken-min-signed-book-giveaway.html) […]

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