Community & Service 20 Aug 2018

The untold story of 3 little pigs

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Have you ever wondered what happened after the events in the story of the three little pigs? In a book titled “三只小猪不为人知的新生活” or “Three Little Pigs: the untold story” by Wendy Tian, a grade 1 bilingual teacher from TK, the tale continued when the sister of the three little pigs came to live with them. The sister moved in with too many things, and the piglets had to build a bigger house. This might sound like a simple story, but it’s rich in IB concepts that are suitable for grade 1 students to use as reflections or topics of discussion.

So what inspired Wendy to write such a book in the first place? She told us that there weren’t many Chinese books written to support the IB units of inquiry (UOI). Most books are written in English (Wendy translates these herself for her students), or are foreign titles translated from other languages. These books are not completely suitable for grade 1 students learning Chinese.

With this in mind, and after a particularly inspiring professional development (PD) session, Wendy decided to write a book of her own. “The words in this book are relatively small so it may pose a reading challenge for independent readers, especially grade 1 students,” Wendy said. “Teachers or parents are encouraged to read the book with their children. I do have English words at the end as well as hanyu pinyin (a system of romanticisation for Mandarin Chinese) to help students.”

The entire process from conceptualisation to printing took Wendy over a year. She also sought the advice of other teachers to improve the overall concept and use of English words at the end of the book. Olivia Mortlock, a grade 7 student who had published a children’s story book with her family, did the illustrations. It may have been Wendy’s personal book project, but it’s definitely heartwarming to see so many members of the CIS community chipping in!

Although Wendy has no concrete plans to put her book up for sale, many schools and libraries have already placed a book order with her. She also made sure to give back to the community by donating copies of her book to charity organisations and churches. Having added a feather to her cap with the publication of her book, does Wendy intend to write a second or even a third book?

“I find the phrase “不为人知”, which means “untold”, rather interesting so I’m thinking of doing an ‘untold’ series of classical stories like Little Red Riding Hood,” Wendy told us, “and using such stories as teaching material for IB concepts and UOIs in class.”

While this sounds inspiring, like all authors, Wendy faced some challenges during the process. For example, she had written the piglets’ sister as the leader of their house-building project but some people felt that it may be more appropriate to have the eldest piglet take the lead instead. Nonetheless, Wendy felt that the feedback she received was useful and helped her improve her book’s overall concept. In fact, she is grateful to Xiong Huali (K-12 Principal for Chinese Language and Culture) and the entire TK Chinese department at TK for their valuable insights.

“I would also like to thank my husband for helping me out with the ISBN application and miscellaneous errands for the book,” Wendy added with a smile.

The book is now available in the TK primary library, or you could reach out to Wendy for more information on how to purchase the book. Have fun reading all about the new life of the 3 little pigs and their sister!