By Walnut Valley Unified
Children’s author Sunny Seki introduced his tales ofJapanese folklore to Walnut Elementary students during a visit on Dec. 5. Before Seki was a published author, he was busy telling stories to his nine children at bedtime.
Over the years, as the stories multiplied and developed into slideshows, his wife Judy suggested that he write children’s books. The couple eventually closed a successful photography business so Seki could pursue his dream of becoming a full-time author illustrator.
This idea for his first published book, The Tale of the Lucky Cat, was born when one of his children asked about the history of Japanese lucky cat. He couldn’t find any books on the subject, so he decided to write one.
“I’m the first one!” he said proudly of the award-winning book that retells the ancient legend of the humble toymaker who remembers a rescued cat by creating clay statues of a cat with a raised paw.
Seki enlisted the help of a few Walnut Elementary students during a pantomime of the story. His wife narrated the book and showed slides during the assembly.
One student asked if he liked being an author. “I love it, so I can come see you guys!” Seki exclaimed.
He told the youngsters that creativity is the place where his stories begin. “Imagination comes first, then sketching, then a model (usually my kids), and then I start to draw.”
Seki shared the themes of his other published books Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll and The Last Kappa of Old Japan, along with his trove of vintage toy treasures. The author explained that the roly-poly Daruma dolls are a symbol of perseverance and good luck
“If you fall seven times, you get up eight times –and you never give up!”
The Seki Family was discovered bringing these creative stories to life with intricate shadow puppet shows and featured on the Disney Channel’s “What a Life!”
Another family was originally hired for the show, but they couldn’t act well in front of the camera.
“So, you never know what good luck is waiting for you!” the author said.