Eliza says she’s not good at stalking. But happily, she found me on the internet and sent me this wonderful activity book that she and her husband wrote about things for kids to do in Bali. I’m a doting aunt and my maternal instinct goes all soft and gooey when I see adorable kiddie toys, clothes, shoes, books. Anything soft and cuddly (i.e. puppies and babies) = me like!
The book, My Awesome Bali Adventure, is an interactive travel book filled with games related to sights, activities, culture and language of Bali that kids can play with and learn about Bali while on holiday, or if even if they live there as expats, like Eliza and her family.
The book is written by Kidding Around, who are husband and wife duo Phillip Gwynne and Eliza McCann, Australians who’ve lived in Bali since 2011 with their two girls and their Balinese dog.
Like many expats living in Asia, they had arrived in Bali with only their suitcases and a plan to stay for a year while Phillip completed writing a series of novels. The novels have since been written and published, and Philip and Eliza are still living in Bali. Phillip is a multi-award winning author and screenwriter who is currently writing the second season of a television series called The Sun, The Moon and The Truth, set in Myanmar.
With two young kids ages 6 and 8, Phillip and Eliza wanted to create something beautiful that celebrated all that they love about Bali – the music, the language, the culture, the religion – and share that with others with the aim to both entertain and educate.
The book gets kids to interact with their Bali surroundings, playing ‘Bali Spotto’ looking out for rice paddies, coconut trees, bakso carts and even the odd Bintang T shirt, and can get kids interacting with local Balinese people to help them with the answers. The book has been printed on art quality paper, has lovely illustrations, and is lightweight and easy to carry around on holiday.
Eliza scoured the internet for illustrators and came across a young Belgian called Tinne Cornelissen, whose maps of Paris caught her eye and whose style was perfect for Eliza’s vision of the book. By amazing coincidence, Tinne happened to be in Bali at that very moment, though by the time Eliza could contact her she had returned to Europe. (This is why Eliza says her stalking skills are not that good). The trio worked together for a year using email, Skype and Dropbox to create the book, which is entirely hand drawn and hand written.
This is a cute, creative book and even if you don’t have kids, it makes a good gift. I know this book would make a perfect gift for my busy friend Tara, an uber-mother who is half-British and half-Indonesian, and bundles her household of four active young kids, hubby and housekeeper from their home in UK to their home in Southeast Asia every year for their family holidays.
You can find this book in Bali at Philip’s local hangout, Bungalow coffee shop in Canggu, where you might also bump into Philip and Eliza having coffee too. Kidding Around also makes cute accessories such as kiddie T shirts and tote bags with Balinese themes, which also make nice holiday souvenirs. Eliza’s brother lives in Hong Kong, so she says that might be their next destination to create more Awesome Adventure books.
I look forward to seeing their next book then!