Journalist . Author . Illustrator
Sean Michael Thomas
Fresno Magazine—August 2009
Review By: Penny Raven
It is a tale of young and old, enthusiasm and wisdom, and optimism and inspiration.
Author and KSEE-24 reporter Sean Thomas was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. He drew upon his childhood memories to write and illustrate his first book, Sedikit-Sedikit Menjadi Bukit.
The story was inspired by the last time he, then five years old, and his father climbed a hill near their home to rest by a small tree at the peak. “I thought I was on top of the world,” recalls Thomas. His father died shortly after.
With prodding from friends, Thomas submitted this story last spring. Publish America bought it and asked him to draw the illustrations as well, which required Thomas to draw hours on end during the months of April through July.
In this family story, a youngster, Nurny, looks at the high mountains and dreams of climbing to the top of the Puncak. (Nurny was selected as the child’s name because that was the name of the furry brown teddy bear given to Thomas at birth and that he still has.)
Each morning Nurny greets Mr. Sun, kisses his mother and starts on his way to climb the mountain. Each day is little legs carry him closer and closer to the Puncak, but each night he returns home disheartened that he hasn’t reached it. After shedding many tears, he finally gives up on his dream.
Many days later he stops at the cottage of an old friend, Pak Nadirin, and sadly recounts his unsuccessful attempts to reach the top of the lofty mountain. The wise old man tells him an oft repeated Indonesian saying, “Sedikit-Sedikit Menjadi Bukit!” Nurny is encouraged by these words, but not quite sure what they mean.
Nurny decided to renew his attempt the next day, and as he went out his front door, Pak Nadirin was waiting for him to accompany him on his trek. In the end, Nurny learned the meaning of the saying, “Little by Little We Climb the Mountain!”
Thomas revealed the book carries the message “Never give up on your dreams—It’s OK to get help along the way. Part of being strong is knowing when to ask for help.”
Sedikit-Sedikit Menjadi Bukit: Little by Little We Climb the Mountain
By Sean Michael Thomas
Nurny is a precocious lad, whose young mind wanders well beyond the confines of his tiny village in Java, Indonesia. His greatest desire is to walk all the way to the top of the Puncak Mountains that tower over the village.
Posted 11/23/08 By Ranu Dally
I want to tell you about my friend Sean and something that he has done that I am so so so proud of. If you were at JIS in the 70s and 80s, you will certainly remember Sean’s mother, Lynne Thomas, music, musicals, Concert Choir, Joint Sound, and many more, and some of you may remember Sean’s father, Keith Thomas, counsellor at JIS, who sadly died in Jakarta in 1980. Sean and his older brother Kelland were at JIS during their Elementary school years. Sean, when he was little, and once upon a time he was a very little boy, used to tag along with my High School students to Tolong Anak Anak visits to children’s homes and various TAA service activities. A useful little fellow he was too.
If you have had any association with JIS or Indonesia or any place in the rest of Southeast Asia, or if you simply like books, you will be interested in the following:
Sean Thomas has just published a children’s book called SEDIKIT-SEDIKIT MENJADI BUKIT or LITTLE BY LITTLE WE CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN and that is what the book is about. It is a charming book written and illustrated by my friend Sean Michael Thomas and I think this is a beautiful book and that is why I am writing to tell you about it. I have seen the “dummy” version and it is interestingly very Javanese in the thinking, writing and illustrations. It is a charming story and I was particularly taken with Sean’s drawings, the colourful details that sang to me of the uniqueness of Java.
Yes, I am writing to publicise the book. It deserves to be bought and read and treasured. It would make a delightful present for children and adults and of course you’d want to buy a copy just for yourself.
So here it is:
SEDIKIT-SEDIKIT MENJADI BUKIT / LITTLE BY LITTLE WE CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN
Written and Illustrated by Sean Michael Thomas
Published by PUBLISH AMERICA
Happy reading and Happy Christmas to you all. Please pass this information on…………