When Stapleton resident Tricia Chinn Campbell was pregnant with her first child Chance she wrote down all the things she wanted him to learn. Years later, she strung them together into a book, Kai and The Magic Jacket, which was published in the summer of 2012.
The lack of Chinese children’s books written in English inspired Campbell to include her culture in the book. She is Chinese American and grew up in Seattle in a large Chinese community. She misses the cultural organizations there.
The book features a 5-year-old half-Chinese, half-Anglo boy named Kai, based on Chance. Kai is given an ornate silk Chinese jacket passed down through the family for generations. Whenever he puts on the jacket, his ancestors visit in spirit. They guide Kai and help him resist peer pressure and deal with bullying. Kai’s great-grandmother tells him, “One day you won’t need this because you will be old enough to make your own decisions. We’re here to help you until then.”
Campbell believes young children can see things like ancestral spirits that they may not understand. “I want to help kids with these things.”
When Chance was a baby he awoke early in the morning, pointed to their spiral staircase, smiled and waved. “Whatever or whoever he was waving to, it was something he was comfortable with and it was a good thing,” she says.
Campbell has also always felt a spiritual connection to her deceased grandmother.
While she says some people may feel uncomfortable talking about spirits, she says it’s okay to introduce kids to new ideas, especially in a fun and creative way like a children’s book.
She never suspected she would write a children’s book. Campbell worked in advertising and marketing in Seattle and Los Angeles. In June, she and her husband moved from Summit County to Stapleton to raise their family. She is now a stay-at-home mom and in the midst of a second book, which will be released next year.
To learn more about Kai and the Magic Jacket or to purchase the book, visit KaiAndTheMagicJacket.com.