Shout Out: Songju Ma Daemicke, children’s book author

Songju Ma Daemicke, 55, is a Glenview author who has written two children’s books. Her first book, “A Case of Sense” was published in 2016, and she published her second book, “Cao Chong Weights an Elephant,” on Sept. 10. Daemicke grew up in Jilin, China, and she came to the United States in 1996 to further her education.

Daemicke will hold a book launch for “Cao Chong Weights an Elephant,” Oct. 7 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Glenview Public Library.

Q: What inspired you to write “A Case of Sense?”

A: (I saw) a Jimmy John’s sign that said “free smells.” This reminded me of a story I was told when I was a little girl by my grandpa. A man cooked a fish and then asked his neighbor to pay for the smell. I told this story to my family and they all enjoyed it. At that time, I was a student. I studied English at Oakton Community College. One writing assignment was to write something from your country. I used my imagination to create the detail and the characters. I wrote that story, my first book, was my assignment.

Q: What inspired you to write “Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant?”

A: My twin daughters were in a recital playing a piece called “Table Music for Two” written by young Mozart. After the recital, my husband and I could not stop talking about Mozart and how he was a child prodigy. I asked my family “Have you ever heard of Cao Chong, the famous Chinese prodigy?” The answer, as I expected, was no. So I told them this famous Chinese story about Cao Chong and his idea for weighing an elephant. My family, they all enjoyed this story, and they were impressed. I heard the story from my grandpa, but I also read it when I was in grammar school. The story was very simple, just a paragraph of three lines. I used my imagination to create all the details, dialogues, all that stuff.

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing?

A: I enjoy the building process. You have to try really hard to find exactly the right words and putting them in the…

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