Official Website – Eva Wong Nava

Open is a 10-year-old boy with a curiosity for life and the things that happen around him. He is on the autism spectrum and loves to draw. He is especially good at drawing monkeys. When his class is selected to perform in a Chinese Opera based on the Monkey King and the Journey to the West, Open must find it in himself to overcome his obstacles and boldly step on stage. A heartwarming story about friendship beyond barriers, Open is a gift calling to the largeness of our hearts.

Tagline: To a more open and inclusive society.

Book Info:

Publisher: Ethos Books Singapore

Author: Eva Wong Nava

Cover Art: Elizabeth Lim

ISBN: 978-981-11-5028-9
Published: 2018
Dimension: 130mm x 200mm
Extent: 112
Finish: Paperback

Rating: Middle School but good for ages 4 – 65+

Praise for Book:

✭✭✭✭✭ Open offers the reader a convincing and an unadulterated insight into the world of a special child. The intellect of the 10-year-old protagonist, interspersed with his struggles to interact with others around him and to express his innermost feelings and thoughts, draws the reader in at every juncture. It is a book that has to be read by everyone–adults, parents, children, teenagers and educators alike. — Claudine Fernandez, Ed.M, Founder of Artistic Strategies Academy

✭✭✭✭✭ Wonderfully crafted. An eye-opening insight into the world of Autism Spectrum Disorders through the eyes of a child.  — Edna McKinstry, MD

✭✭✭✭✭ Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure is an interesting depiction of Benjamin, a boy with autism and his journey discovering the joy of the Chinese performing art, wayang. At a deeper level, the story reflects how Benjamin’s parents care for and support him as they too embark on their life journeys of self-discovery. […] I congratulate the writer and the publisher for the production of this book. — Denise Phua, President, Autism Resource Centre Singapore, and Special Needs Advocate 

✭✭✭✭✭ How would you describe this book about autism? Pretty much like how you will describe people on the autism spectrum – special. I love how the book portrays autism, not as a sickness or a health condition. This book comes from a perspective of genuine affection. When autism is sincerely understood and whole-hardheartedly embraced – you see autism as a gift, not a burden. Makes you wonder – “Does being different mean the same thing as being special?” — Marianne Inacay, Producer, News Booking Desk, Channel News Asia.

✭✭✭✭✭ I found Open to be an engaging and sensitively written book told through the voice of a 10-year autistic child nicknamed Open. The story helped me see Open’s view of the world and the challenges that a special needs child faces in seeking to fit in and cope with school and life. — Emily Lim-Leh, award-winning author of 30 children’s books.


Excerpt #1:

My name is Benjamin Oh. People call me Open. I think it is because my Papa calls me Open and then everyone just copies him. I like to copy too so I can see why the kids copy my Papa. 

The day I was born was the happiest day of my Papa’s life. It was a magical moment. I know this because he tells me this every day. The day I was born was also the happiest day of my Mama’s life. I don’t know this because she doesn’t tell me this every day but if it is the happiest day of my Papa’s life, it must also be the happiest day of my Mama’s life.

Excerpt #2:

There is nothing more I like doing than to draw. Drawing is my favourite thing to do. I love to draw monkeys. Bei Bei says that I am obsessed with monkeys. That’s alright because Bei Bei is obsessed with being a princess. We all have our obsessions. 

“You’re crazy, Open!” Bei Bei tells me often. “You’re obsessed with monkeys! All you ever draw are monkeys. Look guys, another monkey drawing.”

Guys are Ali and Raja. They’re both my classmates. 

Excerpt #3:

Mama hasn’t been coming home for dinner lately. She doesn’t eat with Papa and me often but she does try to pop in for dinner every once in a while. 

I guess it must be very busy outside these days.

About the Author

Eva Wong Nava lives between two worlds. She reads copiously and writes voraciously. She holds a degree in English Literature and Language from the University of Hull where Philip Larkin was once the University Librarian; a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from University College London where the Institute of Education resides, and a certificate in Art Writing from Sotheby’s Art Institute which she undertook to better understand what the craft entails. She holds a M.A. in Art History and has taught children and adults how they can use writing for communication and play. She is the founder of CarpeArte Journal, an online space, which publishes works of flash fiction.  Eva’s flash fiction has appeared in various places and her writing on art have been published in international art journals.

Eva is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

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