Eva Wong Nava

Eva Wong Nava is a child of the diaspora. She lives between two worlds and exists in many universes. Eva is an award-winning and best-selling author of children's books. She reads to escape and writes to help children do the same.

What was your favourite childhood book and why?

Definitely Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s a fantastical and absolutely charming story. I loved Eric (aka Cat) and Chrestomanci, and I have a love-hate relationship with the antagonist, Gwendolen, Cat’s evil sister, who is a witch with supposedly strong magic. The story is so layered with unexpected twists and for a child who is fascinated by stories, magic, and escapism, it was such a memorable read.

Which of your own books is your favourite and why?

I have written quite a few books for children. They’re mostly picture books. But I would say that my favourite book is The House of Little Sisters, my debut YA historical fiction novel. This book took me nearly two years to write and almost five years to research. I love this book most because I get to tell the story of bond servant girls in Southeast Asia (aka mui tsai) whose stories are so little known and told. I love historical fiction as a genre, whether it is in picture book format or a longer, novel, format, because I always learn so much about a period in history that I would otherwise not find out about. Not everything in history gets taught in classrooms, and historical fiction is, in my view, a great way to learn history. This book explores many themes such as social injustice, forbidden love, and violence against girls and women, that I feel should be added to the conversations in classrooms.

Why do you choose to read? 

Books saved my life as a child. I wasn’t a popular kid at school and was always left out of games. During break time, I would read my book and this made me feel less lonely. I go to books to escape as they transport me to so many different worlds and universes. Books showed me the infinite possibilities and stories that words can conjure. They showed me that the world is bigger than what I see outside my window. And I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to write.