Young illustrator realises dream of publishing an ebook

Jane RossCase study, Creative Arts, Publishing

Nahyeon Kim thought it would be impossible to publish her book. But all she needed was a little encouragement…

Drawing inspiration from others

It never ceases to amaze me just how much others can be influenced by a book. I remember the first time I worked with Nahyeon Kim. She was in Grade 11 at the time and she had asked me (I was a Technology Coach in the Elementary School) to help her publish a book to the Apple iBooks Store.

Nahyeon had heard about Keily Setiawan’s book ‘Chen Chen Goes to Space‘ as she had just published and our school had made a story about it on the school website.  Keily an elementary student who was only 9 years old, had just published a bilingual book in English and Chinese her third language.

Juliette Kim

Nahyeon Kim

Nahyeon approached me at the school cafe and asked if I could help her to publish her book just like I helped Keily. She told me that she had created her book in Grade 10 as her personal project and had tried to publish it but had found that it costs too much money to do that in Indonesia. She had given up hope of ever publishing her book as she thought it was impossible to do.

I was really interested to see her book. Nahyeon is a very clever student who can draw and paint beautifully. She had made many art exhibitions at our school so I was very curious to see this book. Nahyeon told me that she had hand painted it using water colors and had scanned each page and added a narrative story in text. Her motivation to make the book was to help young children understand about global warming through a narrative story.

Nahyeon’s creation process


Nahyeon told me that she originally started drawing cartoons when she was a student in Australia. She was only just learning English at that time and didn’t have many friends.

She said that she created her character Threescoop to keep her company and that Threescoop loved ice-cream because Nahyeon also loves ice-cream.

Nahyeon decided to take out a patent for her character Threescoop which she did in her home country of Korea. She drew lots of cartoons during her studying in Australia and developed her drawing skills by herself. She said that her cartoons kept her company and helped her to cope with being in a foreign culture and dealing with learning a foreign language.

Here is a quote from Nahyeon’s school blog:

On May 5, I finally got my copyright for my character. It is very important to get one because it will protect my work and my character. Threescoop means a lot to me, because I created this character in 2007, when I was in Australia. It was like a friend to me, when I did not know how to speak English so I played with Threescoop, drawing stories and other characters. It is a very special character to me, and I am more than happy that I can make a picture book of her in 2011, after 4 years has passed!

I will get the copyright for my character soon! I am very excited and it also means, as soon as I get it, I can freely upload Threescoop pictures and my drawings! I do not need to worry about the copyright any more! It costs some money to get the right, but it is worth doing it.

What many people don’t realize is that Nahyeon’s book was originally a paper version. Here are some photos of the first edition. Nahyeon was only able to print a limited number of copies due to the cost.

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Creating and publishing the ePub file with Book Creator

Nahyeon's book cover image

Nahyeon’s book cover image

I arranged to meet with Nahyeon at lunch time and brought my iPad along to create the book. As Nahyeon had already scanned her artwork the process took only 30 minutes to import it into the Book Creator app on the iPad and type in the narrative text.

Next I asked Nahyeon to record her story by reading each page. She was very shy to do that but I convinced her that it would make her story more accessible to much younger children and it is really nice to be able to listen to the author reading the story. I helped her to practice saying each page so that the book was read with good intonation and feeling.

After we had finished, we exported the file to iTunes and I helped Nahyeon to create the publishing package under the authority of her parents.

Nahyeon’s mother became her publisher and had come to school to create the necessary accounts – iTunes and iTunes Connect. It was so easy to send the book to Apple and we were able to see Nahyeon’s book inside the iTunes Connect waiting to be approved.

Approval in less that 24 hours

Less than 24 hours later, Nahyeon’s book was live on the iBooks Store. It had to be the fastest approval I have ever witnessed.

 Download Threescoop’s Snowy Adventure from the iBooks Store

What came after this was unexpected.

The day after Nahyeon’s book was released, our school held a press conference about the publishing that was going on.

You can read one of the many articles about that event in the Jakarta Post: Keily Named Youngest iTunes Author (13 May 2012).

Nahyeon’s book was being downloaded across the world and used in schools and at education conferences as a fine example of teenager action for the environment. I have had a lot of feedback from other teachers who have used this book with their classes.

Nahyeon’s dream come true

Nahyeon told me that she had always dreamed of becoming an illustrator.

With her many examples of artwork and her Threescoop book she was able to secure a place at (RISD) Rhode Island School of Design.

You will see that Nahyeon now prefers to be known by her middle name Juliette. She is now in her first year and although she is very busy with her study, she has promised me that she will return to Indonesia to visit and to upload her next book which is called ‘Threescoop and the Smoky Forest’.

I look forward to helping her again.

A sneak preview of Nahyeon's next book!

A sneak preview of Nahyeon’s next book!

3 Comments on “Young illustrator realises dream of publishing an ebook”

  1. Wow Thank you for such an amazing article. This is incredibly detailed. Before I published this book on iTunes, it was just an ordinary school project but with helps I got, this book has become a work of art that I’ll remember and keep FOREVER! Thank you – Ms. Jane Ross and Book Creator – for this article! And I can’t wait to finally get my second book published this summer :)

    1. Thanks Nahyeon,
      I am so proud of you and all that you have achieved. I look forward to helping you again. You are very inspirational and I have shared this story many, many times all over the world!

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