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Charlene Chua

Charlene Chua was born in Singapore and moved to Canada in 2007. She worked as a web designer and web producer before refocusing her career as an illustrator. Chua is a respected illustrator of children’s books and also works with magazine publishers. Hug? is the first book that she both wrote and illustrated. Chua lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

Hug?

Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2020.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

How many hugs is too many? This girl’s had enough! This humorous picture book explores compassion and the importance of setting boundaries.

After coughing up a hairball, a girl’s cat doesn’t feel well. So the girl offers to give her cat a hug, which makes the cat — and the girl — feel better. A dog notices and asks for a hug, too. Then some ducks come along asking for hugs. And a skunk . . . and a bear — and a porcupine! One animal after another comes asking the girl for a hug until she’s simply had enough. How much more of this can she take?

With spare text and wonderfully expressive illustrations, Charlene Chua has created a playful, funny picture book with an original premise. The story shows how important hugs can be to our happiness — even the most unlikely of creatures sometimes need one! — but that doesn’t mean they’re always welcome. The book is full of laugh-out-loud moments, most of which are found in illustrations that vividly portray the girl’s emotions as she grows more worn out with every encounter, encouraging visual literacy. Each spread also shows a hint of the animal that will appear next, building anticipation for what’s to come. There are character education connections here to compassion, tolerance and empathy, and a terrific opportunity for discussions about boundaries.

Links

Charlene Chua personal website

Publisher Kids Can Press