Meet Sprout, Your Newest & Smallest Pond Friend! [Introducing Our New Co-Blogger]

Text: Meet Your Newest Friend, say hello to the pond's new co-blogger! Image: a silhouette of a pond character, with question marks around them.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl, pointing ahead and gesturing for you to follow.Gentle starlight envelops the world in a soft glow as you make your way over to Xiaolong and your friends tonight. On your way to the Pond though, a soft chirping reaches your ears. You know instinctively that this isn’t a sound that you’ve heard before in your many visits to the Pond. You glance up, and within the blooming shrubbery that extends before you, you notice a faint rustle in one of the nearby bushes.

Xiaolong tugs your hand gently, her head tilting to the side in curiosity, before a moment of realisation dawns on her. “Oh, friend, follow me!” She says, and waddles in the direction of the bushes.

Friends, I have been waiting for this day for weeks and I am so excited that today is finally here! It is with excitement and pleasure that I get to finally announce my newest co-blogger, and I am so thrilled for you to meet her and your newest Pond friend.

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Welcome Back to the Pond, Friends! A Tour of Pond 2.0

A warm welcome back to The Quiet Pond, friends!

The Quiet Pond has been on quite a hiatus for some weeks now and I am so happy to be back. Although I really did enjoy the break (book blogging is tough, friends!), I was itching to return to book blogging, creating content, and talking about the awesome books that I’ve read recently.

As you can see, there are quite a lot of new changes! This change has been a long time coming – I’ve been wanting to do this since the first quarter of this year! – and it’s a big relief that I’ve finally rolled them out. So here’s an update on what has changed, what’s new, what you can expect from the Pond moving forward.

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Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Book Recommendations for September’s Prompt: Mental Illness Awareness!

book recommendations: asian books about mental illness

Hello friends, and welcome back to the Pond! It is the beginning of September, which means that we are now in our ninth month of the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge! (Where does time go?)

In case you haven’t heard, myself and three brilliant book bloggers (Lily, Shealea, and Vicky) are hosting the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge (or YARC!), a year-long reading challenge dedicated to reading Asian literature by Asian authors.

Our September prompt is one that is both exciting and important: mental health awareness.

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Author Interview: On Worldbuilding and African Identity; A Discussion With Rena Barron, Author of YA West African Fantasy, KINGDOM OF SOULS

interview with rena barron, author of kingdom of souls

Last you spoke to Xiaolong, she said that it was important – absolutely, vitally, incredibly important – that you stop by the Pond today. “We have a really important visitor and she is my newest friend so you have to meet her!”

And so, today, you’re here on your way to the Pond, finding yourself pretty excited to meet Xiaolong’s newest friend.

Rena Barron as a cheetah with dark brown locs (hair) with golden beads.When you arrive, you find Xiaolong sitting at her favourite spot by the water, and sitting next to her is the most elegant and regal cheetah you’ve ever seen.

You call out a hello to Xiaolong, and the two look up at you. Xiaolong gives you her usual enthusiastic wave – she’s happy to see you! – and the cheetah gives you a shy smile.

“Friend!” Xiaolong greets. She gestures for you to come closer. “Come meet my new friend! This is Rena! She is the author of Kingdom of Souls and I invited her here today because I wanted to ask her all about her new book!”

Kingdom of Souls? How exciting! And so you sit down next to Xiaolong, ready to listen and learn about Rena’s new book.

Hello friends, and welcome back to the Pond! 💛

Xiaolong the axolotl, gesturing with her arm up, holding onto a copy of Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron.There is a significant dearth of stories about Black characters by Black authors, and there is a distinct lack of fantasies featuring and centering on Black characters and African culture. Therefore, you could imagine how excited I was to hear that Kingdom of Souls, a YA West-African fantasy, was announced. And when the cover was announced? I think I gasped when I saw it for the first time. A Black woman front and center in the cover! Sitting on a throne that is unapologetically African and Afro-futurist! My excitement amplified tenfold.

Today, I have the honour and privilege of having Rena Barron join Xiaolong and I at the Pond today! Read More »

Guest Feature: Exploring Queer Identity & Faith – The Authors of KEEP FAITH Talk About What Their Stories Mean To Them

Keep Faith: A Queer Anthology banner, with Xiaolong the axolotl reading Keep Faith.

Xiaolong may be taking a little break from all her magical duties at the Pond, but you do occasionally like to visit her at the Pond and sit next to her for some quiet reading time.

But today, it doesn’t look like ‘quiet reading time’ is going to happen. Rather, the Pond feels very loud.

You hear laughter and the soft buzz of camaraderie by the Pond. As you approach, you see that the Pond is filled with a lot of Xiaolong’s visiting friends! There’s an octopus in the Pond itself, an intersex flag in eir’s arms, a gray and white narwhal sipping some boba while chatting to a gray tabby wearing a black and white shirt, and a beautiful and terrifying gumiho who stares at you as you enter. And over there, by Xiaolong’s favourite reading spot, is a mer-cat laughing with a little hijabi duckling and an ice-blue fox while a shiba inu dances, little bells tinkling at their ankles. And off to your left is a brown eagle owl reading their book, while a toucan preens its feathers, and a pink dolphin and and pink otter swim carefree in the Pond.

xl keep faith.png“Hi friend!” Xiaolong is at your feet, smiling at you. “I invited some of my friends to come visit the Pond because a book they created with writing-magic releases today!”

Created a book together? That sounds so wholesome! You ask her about this book and her friends.

She gives you a big grin. “Why don’t I introduce you to them?”

Friends, The Quiet Pond may still be on hiatus, but when I found out about the Keep Faith anthology, I knew that I wanted to feature this anthology and its incredible authors. So I emailed Gabriela, the editor of Keep Faith, and we invited all of the writers to be visitors at The Quiet Pond.

Therefore, I am so incredibly excited to be featuring Keep Faith edited by Gabriela Martins today. We have fourteen friends visiting the Pond today, and I could not be more excited to share with you a little bit more about the stories in Keep Faith and what the stories mean to them. Read More »